Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Other: Fortunately 400th Post

Well, I'd say it's time for a bit of explanation.

First off, I should mention I finally signed into PSUP and started making some contributions.  A couple months ago, I began adding a few numbers here and there.  I got accustomed to making edits pretty fast and was soon looking into ways of cleaning up misplaced data here and there.  I'll save my whole bit on this for a separate post.  I was considering making a post about each site at some point anyway and I'd like to encourage more people to put in an edit here and there.  There's actually a good deal of simple tasks that can be done to help the site out.  Even though I've been linking to them, I don't believe I mentioned that PSUP got a new set of forums.  Coincidentally, it happened about when I decided to start making edits.  Anyway, I've linked them directly below.  I've been referring to them in links as 'PSUPf' (the abbreviation they use).

The other big thing is that I was contacted (also a few months ago) about contributing news articles to PSOW.  I decided to wait until they implemented their new news system.  The major addition was RSS (and a primary reason for me signing on).  You can read about more additions in a link below.  I've also linked my introductory post there.  There will be more features coming (hopefully soon) that should be pretty cool and helpful once implemented.  PSOW in general has been going through quite a few changes and I'm glad I can be a part of it.  A post about PSOW will probably be coming sometime too.

Other random tidbits:

- I'm going to give the podcasts their own section.  I've been meaning to do this awhile and it'll clear up some space in the Community category (which I've had some plans for).  To make sure it fits in, I'll probably finally convert all the 'PC/PS2' articles to 'PS2/PC'.  This is generally how it's referred to officially and I've wanted to just switch them all over (but never did obviously).

- Like I mentioned a few times, I'm going to extend just a bit community wise.  Perhaps I'll get around to those moderator backgrounds and fan site articles.  I might try to add some more commentary too.  The events following the one article I wrote were quite...eventful to say the least.

- I'm a month behind now.  I'll be caught up soon.  I don't really have much of an explanation, but it's rather unnatural for me to leave something hanging like this without at least a notice.  The important thing is that the articles are complete and generally fit in with the rest.

- Quite awhile ago, there started to be some heavy concerns about where we were in comparison to Japan.  I came up with a list breaking down the updates from Japan and which parts we hadn't received yet.  This actually helps a bit with the articles as I make sure to mention which parts of our updates came from which parts of Japan's (although I still have to update the last couple months with this info).  I always planned on cleaning it up and putting it as a permanent link on the side as a running list.  As of now, there is actually a similar list over at PSUP.  There is a difference though as it just contains a straight up list of content and the larger system updates.  It's probably more useful as it links to all the relevant articles on the site (so people can read all about future events and missions).

- Yes, I'm aware of both Phantasy Star Portable and now Phantasy Star 0/Zero.  I've made a number of posts about PSP over at PSOW as it did quite well in sales over in Japan.  I'll get around to talking more about these later.  I probably won't put a ton of focus into them here.  Who knows what the future will hold though.

- I meant this post as a tie-in to this site's first anniversary (August 15th, another milestone), but it obviously got delayed.  At the very least, I hit my not-exactly-official goal range as far as posting goes.  Aside from that, things are about where they should be (outside of being behind).  I can't say I'm displeased with how stuff turned out.

That's enough for now I guess.  I might mention more once I'm finished updating with the September posts.

Monday, September 29, 2008

General: Maintenance for August 29th

(Information started on August 28th)

There was a maintenance held to make a bugfix in line with the one made on JP's PC/PS2 server just a day earlier.  They started an hour earlier than usual.  Howzer was upped to level 160 in rank A of Episode 5 Chapter 3 so that he could drop Vijeri / Resist.

Japan: Maintenance for August 28th

(Information started on August 28th)

There was a maintenance to fix some bugs.  Howzer's level on A rank in Episode 3 Chapter 5 was upped again to 160.  He drops Vijeri / Resist once more. The Protectors γ also had a fix to chip collection.

JP Maintenance End

Monday, September 22, 2008

Podcast: PSU Community Podcast Season 2 Episode II

(Information started on August 22nd)

This episode has all the usual contents and goes over the most current updates (subtraction of MAG and addition of Neudaiz GBR).  Enjoy!

Season 2 Thread
Season 1 Archive Thread

MAG: Extension Run Closed

(Information started on August 22nd)

Maximum Attack G has finally come to a close (for good this time).

The final tally is 270,624,674 creatures eliminated.  Those users that played in this second run of the event can expect the final two milestone prizes to reach the servers soon.  There has even been talk of an additional run of 3 star photon fortune, but that is yet to be seen.

Thanks to everyone that participated in either or both runs of the event!

EN MAG 2 Homepage

General: Update for August 22nd

(Information started on August 21st)

Here is a breakdown of the update for August 22nd:

- Fireworks lobbies (August 22nd to September 26th) [PSUv1]
* De Ragan's Breath and Fireworks available from NPC shops [former is PSUv1]
- Episode 3 Chapter 5
- Flowery Pursuit C-S2 (Saguraki C.D. towards Ohtoku City)
- Phantom Fissure C-S (Rare mission accessed at random from various Neudaiz mission counters)
- New S2 difficulty for Sakura Blast, Sacred Stream, White Beast, Hill of Spores, and Dancing Birds
- Neudaiz GUARDIANS Boost Road (August 22nd to September 26th)
* Contains Hill of Spores, Dancing Birds, Flowery Pursuit, Sacred Stream, and White Beast
- Maximum Attack G second run ends
* Maximum Attack G' C-A (permanent version of MAG that has been reworked)
* Program DF' C-A (same as above)
* Gifts from Beyond is still available for Weapons Badge redemption
* Hit the Counter! is still available for players who didn't pick up their milestone rewards
- More weapons and boards made available to NPC shops
- PSU Disc 76 made available at Casino Voloyal
- Lots more items will become available from the new missions and mission difficulties

Definately a big update.  However, there are no other big content additions for the time that this GBR is going on.

Update: A notice was posted that maintenance would take longer than planned.

Update: Maintenance has ended with no system changes.

Japan: PC/PS2 Update for August 21st

(Information started on August 19th)

Here are the updates for this week:

- 2nd Anniversary Event lobbies (August 21st to September 4th) [PSUv1]
- Fireworks lobbies (August 21st to September 25th) [PSUv1]
- 2nd Anniversary Thanks Festa Event Start (Missions available from GUARDIANS HQ)
* The Protectors γ C-S2 (August 21st to September 25th)
* Government Directive (August 21st to September 25th)
- More items at "The Arms Dealer"
- New weapons, armor, etc.
- De Ragan's Breath and Fireworks added to NPC shops (August 21st to September 25th) [PSUv1]
- Level cap raised to 160
- Adjustments made to enemy drops in AOTI missions
- Rare mission update (notes below)
- Organization of parties at mission counters (notes below)
- My Room shop pricing adjustment (notes below)

This rare mission update changes a few things.  Any member that has been in the party for 80+ percent of the time has a chance at an allowance of a rare mission (as opposed to just the leader).  Larger parties will no longer have increased chances, however players with a chance at a rare mission will not lose it if the party's current leader uses their's.  You cannot collect chances, you only get one active at a time.  This update will be easy to spot as you can actually see if you obtained a go at a rare mission or not.

Joinable parties will now be placed at the front of the list.  They'll be sorted by creation time or the last time the size of the party decreased (that hadn't been by the kicking of a player).

If you wish to edit the price of an item in your shop, the counter will now start out at the current value (as opposed to 0).  When adding a duplicate item, the counter will default to the price of the highest priced item listed of the same type.

Update: Event page updates.  Various data added to event site based off server tracking from last year of gameplay. GM event details given.  Trial weekend information given.

Update: There was apparently an update to their ToS.  The changes weren't really specified.

Update: Due to an issue, they are extending the open weekend for another day.

Update: Maintenance is over and the client version is now 2.0009.1.  The in-client ToS has been updated.  A fix was made to Lumilass.  From what I can tell, the prices did not feature the color update that was implimented earlier this year.

Update: The report from the GM Boys has been put out for Ultimate Attack 6 (the prior event).

Japan: Prepaid Cards at 7-Eleven

(Information started on August 19th)

As of August 18th, Sega made prepaid cards for PSU available at Japan's 12,000+ 7-Eleven stores.  These are joined up with cards for other Sega online services (even PSOBB).  30 and 90 day cards are available.

It's interesting to note that Japan contains a third of the 7-Eleven stores in the world.  The United States actually only has around 6,000 or so.

Xbox 360: DRM Tool

(Information started on June 26th)

Meant to mention this awhile ago, but I'm sure it's gotten around by now.

Microsoft released a tool that will allow you to transfer licenses on your download content using the internet.  After using this, it will once again be possible to use your content offline (as well as allow others to use your content).  This is of course the solution for all those people that had to switch Xboxes for one reason or another.

PS2/PC: Official PS3 Wireless Keypad

(Information started on August 20th)

Sony announced a wireless keypad for Playstation 3 controllers.  This is somewhat in the range of the Messenger Kit/Chatpad for the 360, however the keyboard itself is actually above the face of the controller (instead of below it).

Let's hope that this one manages to be compatible with the PS2 version of PSU.  The 360's chatpad is still waiting on compatibility for the 360 version of the game.

Community: Guide to Using Japanese Voices in AOTI PC

(Information started on August 20th)

It is a rather well known issue that the English PC and Xbox 360 versions do not have the extra battle voices that were made available to expansion players (whereas the PS2 players do).

While it is unknown when or if this will be resolved officially, a group of players have worked out some functionality in this department by pulling some voices off the Japanese PC version of the expansion and getting them to work with the English PC version.  This much progress being made, it makes me wonder if it would be possible to get the English versions themselves by deriving them from the PS2 version.

This is probably worth a link on the side.

Community: Official Forum Updates

(Information started on April 21st)

Another round of updates that I've been meaning to get around to mentioning.  These pertain to the forums on the official site:

Event Calendar - RubyEclipse created this to help keep track of various fan run events as well as maintenance and live support times.  There was a recent time change for GM Live support that isn't reflected here (info post incoming soon), so it may be a bit out of date.

Suggestions and Ideas Forum - Requests for the forums, game, and otherwise should go here (although you can still use http://help.sega.com).  I've been a fairly huge proponent of this one and it's something I keep a close eye on.  For my sake, please be respectful of the stickies as well as the somewhat closer modding.  It's all for the purpose of keeping the board tidy so that ideas can flow efficiently.

PSP and PS0/Z Forums - These were added for discussion of the newest portable Phantasy Star games.  They have not yet been dated for release outside of Japan, however there can be pretty much no doubt that they are coming.

More Avatars - By request, new avatars have been added to the forums.  These include additions to the Phantasy Star Universe category as well as the addition of the PSU: AOTI category.

Event Calendar

Community: More PSO-World Updates

(Information started on August 1st)

I mentioned there was an update to the forums awhile back, so I think it's worth it to have another notice of some changes.

First off, the front page was updated to reflect the style of the new forums. There is in fact a certain level of integration here. Various updates have been made to the news system including a better search for the archive and finally an RSS feed. I'll go more into specifics on this later as there are a few other interesting tidbits (including more arriving in the future).

As of recently, all other site pages have been updated to the new style. This of course includes the databases, guides, and everything else. More themes, avatars, and other stuff have been added alongside. Awhile ago, a new database just for pictures was also added to the site.

The site will continue to undergo changes and additions, but at least for this moment in time it once again seems quite solid. Credits go to Ryna for all the work put in to the upgrades.

Xbox 360: Illinois Requires Internet Cancellation for Games

(Information started on July 29th)

The following linked bill has been essentially passed into law in Illinois.  It is said that the base for the law goes back to an incident concerning Final Fantasy XI, however the law seems to apply to Xbox Live as well as PSU on 360 (as it also requires phone cancellation being integrated into Live).  I haven't heard much since it was passed, however surely Microsoft has some sort of comeback.  There is usually a grace period for violators of recently passed bills, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more out of this as that comes to a close.

Personally, I don't see much of a problem with phone cancellation as far as Microsoft goes.   At a certain point in time, I cancelled both Xbox Live and PSU in the same phone call.  It took all of four minutes from when I first dialed.  It would make perfect sense to have a cancel button integrated into Live, however I think most people blow the cancelling method out of proportion.

Community: Useful Sites List Update

(Information started on July 31st)

Putting back a few links as they came back and also adding a few:

Amesani PSU EN - A good way of browsing stat information and mission data (including drops).
PSYOU - Mission information and drop data.
PSUtopia - PSU based image uploader.
PSUTools - Character stats and damage calculator.

Xbox 360: Game Installation Video

(Information started on August 10th)

This is a video showing what game installation will look like with the upcoming 360 dashboard update.  As stated before, you will still need to put the disc in the tray (to confirm you have the game).

I saw some of this recently at PAX (a gaming convention).  I might put up some of my experiences there (and other stuff they premiered for the fall update) later.

Japan: Some Future Event Information

(Information started on July 27th)

Some tidbits given by EspioKaos from a developer interview:

* Another large event is planned to begin at some point before March 2009. A name has not been decided on it yet.
* The event is planned to have a similar structure to Maximum Attack G.
* The developers want to have events of similar proportions three or four times per year.
This is not from one of the "longterm schedules" that usually go out once every several months.  One should be upcoming soon though as the current one runs out at the end of September.

Community: RSS Feed for Official Site

[Apologies on the extended period of posting delay.  We'll be on track soon.]

(Information started January 27th)

Before I forget again, there is something else that I've been meaning to post of Toothball's creation.  He's managed to create an RSS feed that follows the updates made to the Official EN PSU Homepage.  This is something that Sega has unfortunately been lacking.