Welcome space-robot/loli/androgynus teenager to the wonderful world of Phantasy Star Online 2. Well technically, 'universe' is more apt or really inter-dimensional, timey-wimey existence
So let us address the elephant in the room first. No there still is no NA release yet, it is still "in the works". Yes, you can in fact play on Japanese servers with no issue. And yes, I will tell you how to do that (point of fact, it is pretty easy). So if you are already a seasoned Phantasy Star player and just want to jump right in than head to the bottom of the OP. For the rest of you who want to know more, pull up a seat (figuratively of course, as I assume you are already literally sitting down).
What is PSO2? And P.S. you misspelled 'fantasy'.
Okay, first off don't be an ass, it is a proper noun.
Secondly. Phantasy Star Online 2 is (surprise, surprise) the sequel to Phantasy Star Online which made it's first debut in the way, way long ago on a little known and misunderstood console called the Dreamcast.
PSO2 is a hack n' slashy/shooty (none of this hotbar
combat bid'niss here) MMO-lite game in which you take on the role of a newly minted Ark (an intrepid space hero) who explores dangerous alien locales for loot/glory/sometimes genocide.
I call the game "MMO-Lite" as it has a solid blend of singleplayer/multiplayer elements.
The game has a story, complete with cut-scenes, story events, boss fights, and other JRPG staples. However, it is also online much like the original Guild Wars. You take on missions either solo or with 3 other buddies you can conquer the world.
The player hub area is an Ark Ship (each server is 1 Ark Ship and all the ships make up the Ark Fleet, which I thought was a nice touch). Ark Ships are massive flying nations that were sent out in to the unknown to find new life and brutally murder the shit out of it (at least that is my impression). Though if you want the official story, then fine, here you go.
Okay I get the premise, but how does it play?
Embark on an endless journey through the galaxy...!
Home to three (Axen's note: actually four now) species - Humans, the Newman, and the CAST - the fleet known as "Oracle" continues its journey across the vast expanse of interstellar space between inhabitable worlds. When it first became possible for this fleet to travel beyond the reaches of our galaxy, a new history was born.
In the year 283 of the New Light, "Oracle" traversed numerous galaxies and discovered countless worlds.
In the far reaches of outer space, grounds known as "Arks" were set up to explore and research newly discovered planets. Their purpose was to move from one planet to another, helping to build and advance the infrastructures of civilization.
Seeking new adventure and new opportunity, different Arks work together in order to explore the depths of space and discover what my be waiting.
Now, as new Arks set off to explore unknown regions of space, a new journey begins...
Well, that is easy, it is straight up action. The five D's of Dodgeball are in full effect here; dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.
You can lock on to a target to help (and it does) facilitate combat, but just because you are locked on does not mean you will automatically hit (at least with range weapons). Enemies can (and will) dodge your attacks. Luckily you can do the same to them. You also have to keep in mind terrain as well. If you shoot a fireball at a space-gorilla and he is behind a tree you will blow up that tree (literally, it is awesome) instead of hitting the space-gorilla.
As I mentioned before, this isn't standard MMO hotbar combat. It is absolutely action oriented.
You can have three weapons active at any one time (at least). Though you are free to switch out what those weapons are whenever you want.
You can learn a ton of different attacks and level up those attacks, but you have to pick and choose the ones you want to actually use in combat (they're pretty much all awesome and you can change what abilities you are using whenever you want).
So as an example, my guy is a Force (basically magic type). I have a staff, gunblade, and a thingy
(techno-magic book dealie). My current skill loadout is standard attack (mouse 1), a fireball (mouse 2), a freezing ice attack (shift-mouse 1), and a defensive spell (shift-mouse 2).
Enemies (normally) telegraph their attacks. Sometimes you only have a split second, other times you could go make a sandwich and still have time to react.
All in all I really enjoy the combat.
Two other neat things to mention.
One, you can befriend NPCs and eventually gain their contact info so you can invite them to join you on quests if you're the loner type.
Two, you ever play Dragon's Dogma? You know the Pawn system? Basically in PSO2 you can turn your dude in to a recruitable NPC that other players hire to bring along on missions. Not sure what, if any, bonus you gain from it.
So what are my race/class options?
For this I'll just straight up copy the info from here
(I'll talk more about that link in a moment as it is important).
Humans are balanced towards physical strength and photon (Axen's note: read 'magic')
, they can adapt to every class.
Newmans are skilled in handling the photon. To compensate for their physical weakness, their photon sensitivity is high, unrivaled by the other races.
Casts are the machine race, but since their bodies are artificial, their handling of the photon is weak, to compensate for this, they have an exquisitely firm body.
Dumans (Axen's note: sometimes 'Dewman'
) have strong offensive skills but low defensive attributes, and thus need to rely on evasion in combat.
The actual stat differences between races isn't all that big and you can get away with playing whatever class with whatever race without issue.
One of the three primary classes which excels in close-ranged combat.
Their stat growth focuses on S-ATK, S-DEF and HP for increased survivability even when fighting enemies alone.
Weapons can also be temporarily enhanced through the use of gears, which depending on the weapon could affect charging speed, range, or power.
Skill enhancements for Guard and Step are highly recommended since they allow you to quickly dodge or block incoming attacks without taking any damage.
One of the three primary classes which excels in mid-ranged combat.
Their stat growth focuses on R-ATK and R-DEF which is mainly used for ranged combat.
Rangers specialize in attacking weak points with skills that allow you to weaken certain spots on enemies or further increase damage to those vulnerabilities.
In addition, Rangers also inflict bonus damage when performing head shots since the head automatically becomes a weak point for them.
One of the three primary classes which excels in long-ranged combat through the use of technics.
Their stat growth focuses on T-ATK and T-DEF which is mainly used for technics, but pretty low on HP.
Force can specialize in either fire, ice or lightning attribute, each having their own pros and cons.
Since they can use technics to heal themselves, they can survive without the use of healing items.
Added as a 4th primary class since Episode 2, they excel in both short-ranged and long-ranged combat.
Their stat growth focuses on S-ATK, R-ATK and DEX, which gives them great advantage when attacking at the cost of having lower defenses.
The katana can also be temporarily enhanced through the use of gears, which further increases the damage output of the weapon during counter attacks.
Weak Stance works great on bosses and other large enemies due to their exploitable weak points being lockable and easy to target.
Secondary class that branched off from Hunter, which also excel in close-ranged combat.
Similar to Hunter, their stat growth focuses on S-ATK, S-DEF and HP for increased survivability even when fighting enemies alone.
Their weapons can also be temporarily enhanced through the use of gears, which depending on the weapon could evade incoming attacks or damage nearby foes.
Skill enhancements for Brave and Wise Stances are highly recommended since they allow you great advantages depending on your position.
Secondary class that branched off from Ranger, which excels in mid-ranged to close-ranged combat.
Their stat growth focuses on R-ATK and R-DEF which is mainly used for ranged combat.
Although Gunners can also equip rifles, they can't use it properly as a Ranger does since they don't have all the weak point enhancements.
Instead, they focus more on chain combos with the twin machineguns which makes the finishing move a lot deadly.
Secondary class that branched off from Force, which excels in close-ranged to long-ranged combat.
Unlike Force, their stat growth focuses on S-ATK and S-DEF which is mainly used for close-ranged combat.
Techters can specialize in either wind, light or dark attribute, each having their own pros and cons.
They also have a few support skills that can be useful for the whole party, which enables them to fight at the front line or at the back.
Also, you can freely change between the classes and each class keeps track of its own level.
Each class can use several different weapons (and let me tell you, there are a lot to pick from). From bows, swords, great swords, twin blades, gunblades, dual pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, magic thingies
, space-whips, staves, and wands (to name a few).
Out in the wild and from merchants you can get "discs" that teach you new abilities for a particular weapon. I haven't delved to deep in to it with PSO2 yet as all I find are sword/gun techniques and I use staves.
Alright, so how does it all go down?
Well once you have created a character and completed the tutorial/prologue you'll be dumped off in to your CampShip. This is your own little drop ship complete with storage, market, recruitment station, teleport pad to the Ark Ship, and quest board.
There are a lot
of different things to do, but I'll run you through an average job.
From the quest board (or NPC) you will get a job. In the beginning these are basic "Find and kill X", but as you progress they become somewhat more complicated. It honestly reminds me a bit of Monster Hunter.
So say you take the job to exterminate space-wolves. You'll head to the planet and then your mission starts.
The are you are in is basically a zone and somewhere in it is your target. Of course there are other mobs that will get in your way.
But that ain't all. There are random events and random cut-scenes you may or may not run in to.
You can repeat a mission and have different things happen each time.
As you move through the zone you can explore a bit and find treasure, special mobs, events, what-have-you.
When you find your target the game will let you know and a very nice lady will give you the details. You fight and kill your target and the mission is complete. You can then teleport back to your CampShip and get your mission debrief.
Then you do it again.
As I mentioned though, there are a lot of other things to do.
Apart from the standard mission board quests you also have story missions, client mission (where an NPC requests a specific thing which may or may not be tied to certain monsters), the Matter Board (which I can only describe as one half achievements with rewards and another half extra missions), and the occasional fleet assault wherein the Ark Fleet is attacked by a monstrous entity and it is all hands on deck to fight it off. Which, btw, is awesome
, as the combined efforts of all the players online
count towards defeating it and it looks a little something like this:
Well that all sounds neat, so bottom line, how much does this cost?
Absolutely nothing. The game is free to play. It does have a cash shop, but from what I can tell it's basically just fluff. Potions to increase XP, crafting results, costumes, and the like. From what I've been told there really isn't anything in there you need in order to fully enjoy the game.
Okay I'm interested, but wouldn't this game be all Moonspeak?
The PSO fanbase is, if nothing else, dedicated. As such the fans have created several translation patches for the story itself (which is surprisingly well done), items, monster names, quests, and so forth. Some things are still in Moonspeak, but for the most part these are just fulff like item descriptions and quest story text.
Well, how do I go about getting this then?
Okay, first off follow the instructions in this guide in order to register and download the game.
One of the instructions calls for you to 'link' your SegaID with the game, but I never did that and it worked fine. All in all the process is no different then registering for any other game, and Hell if you have Google Chrome auto-translate for you then it is even easier. The hardest part is the Hiragana Captcha you have to decipher. It can be done and that guide has links to help.
Now after you have downloaded the game and created a SegaID you will want to download the PSO2 Tweaker
. This is a fan-made launcher that will (among other things) download the latest translation patches and keep those patches up-to-date. It makes the entire process painless.
Step 1: Follow the instructions in this guide
(don't worry about "linking" your SegaID to the game).
Step 2: Go here and download the PSO2 Tweaker/English Launcher.
Step 3: While still at Arks-Layer.com it is recommended you download the Story Patch as well
(it is 2.5 gigs). The PSO2 Tweaker will install it for you after you have downloaded it and it will continue to keep it up-to-date.
Step 4: Launch the game (the normal way the first time, then through the PSO2 Tweaker afterwards just to be safe) and log in.
: If you used a capital letter in your SegaID username it doesn't matter. The login screen does not seem to recognize capital letters. So save yourself hours of grief and remember to type your user name in lower case when you log in to the game. Seriously, as an example say when I create my SegaID I typed Axen is my user name. When I go to log in to PSO2 and type 'Axen' it will not recognize it. So I'd have to type 'axen' instead. It could be that I am crazy and simply screwed up, but just a friendly piece of advice in case you run in to trouble.
has numerous guides and links to helpful things. Some of it is up-to-date and some is not. Still, super handy to have bookmarked.
is the preeminent wiki for PSO2 info and data. Pretty much anything you need to know is here and it is constantly updating.
PSO2 Symbol Art Editor
. You can have your own personal "graffiti" tag (for lack of a better word). You can have one for your store, your character, your team, or whatever. This editor allows you to import/export Symbol Art from outside the game making it super-fucking-easy to have bang'n art.
Check these videos out to see it all in motion.
Showing off a 1v1 boss fight. Check out them moves!
This is a multi-party boss fight, not unlike a raid.
This one is a great video for so many reasons. Chiefly showing off how smooth it is and the English patch.
Heh, or this one where the party went on a normal mission only to have a random event happen in which the party got abducted and had to fight evil versions of their own characters.
What server, bro?
Most Westerners play on Ship 2 'Ur'
Oh yeah and sometimes things like this happen: