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Phantasy Star Online 2 Adds Super Hard Mode and Higher Level

A huge content update is coming up in a few days for PSO2 players including Super Hard Mode, higher level caps, new class skills, enemies, and quests. There has still been no word on a western release.

It feels a little like sticking needles deep into the hearts of North American Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) fans to bring up any new updates on the successful free to play MMO that aren't the long-promised North American release. 

Unfortunately, no new news has popped up in relation to a stateside release since Sega's extremely vague March announcement, which said that the US version would be delayed. It seems Sega is much more interested in pushing out the Asian release in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines on time in 2014 instead.

Meanwhile, the Japanese version of the game barrels on.

The new update hits Japanese players on October 9, and it's a big one. 

Super Hard Mode

The PC version of the game passed its one year mark two months ago in July, and it has been eight months since the release for the PS Vita. The focus of the game has decidedly switched over to providing good endgame content and expanding playability for more experienced players for greater rewards. 

(New 10 Star Weapons and Units in Super Hard)

The upcoming update will allow players to challenge harder enemies in the new Super Hard difficulty mode, and will be available for quests starting from Forest through to Floating Continent. The enemies will be stronger, and their infection cores and their attack behavior will change in order to keep players from simply facing a longer grind on virtually the same enemy. Enemies will be able to reach the player faster than ever before, and bosses will have increased speed and attacks. 

For example, Big Varder's parts can be repaired by Gilnatch Cores.

Super Hard mode will add the ability for Falz Arms to appear on each planet, and boost enemies will be infected by strange cores (like this Darker Core Plus below) that have a life of their own. These cores can perform different actions like HP absorption, counter attacks, or offensive lasers.

New Level 65 Cap

Also on October 9, the level cap will be raised to level 65. Subclasses will gain EXP up to level 45, and level 16 photon arts and technics will be released. Two new class skills will be available for each class, for example:

Never Give Up (Hunter Skill) 

  • During Iron Will, your striking power will increase for a certain amount of time.
  • You will gain invincibility for a limited time.

First Hit (Ranger Skill) 

  • Bonus Damage is dealt to enemies with full HP.

A few more class skills and descriptions can be found on the Phantasy Star Fan Blog

Tagamikazuchi

Originally announced back in September, new rare enemy Tagamikazuchi is a promise of a hard fight (swift movements and electric-style attacks), but massive rewards. Defeating this new enemy nets you tons of experience (142,400 EXP shown in September video preview) and a chance for a weapon camo drop.

New Quests & Costumes

Defuse the Time Bomb

The Darkers have set up bombs in various locations. Cut the right power cord connected to the detonator to defuse the bomb before time runs out.

Emergency Quest: Battle Commander Border Break

A new Emergency Quest is coming to the subterranean tunnels of the Mines. Traverse the conveyer belt and head to the deepest area to battle the two Brave Cougar NX. If you play on Super Hard, they will drop brand new Weapon Camos.

Ultimate Fighter Scratch

This AC Scratch includes new “Fighter” themed costumes like Raids Feeder and Saphaigilias, with new cast parts like the Wigner and Everett series.

Additional costumes include the Up Style Pony and Metal Wing.

Other Changes

The October update will include many more smaller changes in class and game rebalancing as well as companion abilities. 

  • Added Premium Drinks
  • A new setting in options will allow you to automatically pick up Meseta just as you approach it.
  • Some set bonus effects will be increased.
  • 11 star units will have increased defensive stats.
  • Relaxed the skill points needed to acquire Photon Flare, Photon Flare After Burst, Photon Flare Advance, Ice Mastery 2!
  • Summon characters from the Partner Terminal in Extreme Quests.
  • Issue Partner Battle Strategies: “Fight” or “Do Nothing.” Battle strategies allow you to command whether or not a partner and their mag will attack enemies.  
  • Disks typically obtained through rare enemies/bosses will now have a low chance at dropping through their non-rare counterparts.  The highest level they will drop in this particular situation is Level 10. Furthermore, disks from rare enemies/bosses will drop at a higher rate.
  • Support Partners can now reach level 65!
  • Skies of Arcadia Music Discs will be added to the FUN Scratch.
  • Players have lamented over the recent changes made to PSE Bursts. This adjustment seemed to counteract the effects of a bug known as “Exit Bursting” but it appears this correction has affected regular PSE Bursts as well. Though they will continue to prevent the bug from occurring,  they have decided to shorten enemy respawn times under PSE Bursts. They will continue to watch the situation and make even more adjustments if necessary.

For those of us still waiting for PSO2's official release in North America, none of this will be of any great news to us. However, many Canadian and US players, impatient with the long delay and lack of official feedback, have long been playing the game with fan-made English patches. It is technically a violation of the game's EULA, but when you gotta have it...

Published Oct. 6th 2013

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