Phantasy Star Online 2 was recently updated to “Episode 3” on the 27th of this month in Japan (26th here) and added many features that are very welcome and basically zero bad additions.
Phantasy Star Online 2 was released out of beta in July of 2012 and at the time it was very poor for a MMORPG, between the fact that there were only 3 classes and a handful of areas to explore there was not much to do at all, and leveling was very un-fun but necessary to get anything challenging done at all. About half a year later Sega released the 3 secondary classes and the ability to have two classes active at the same time on your character, which gave birth to “builds” which are apparent in every MMO you’d find on the interneti.
Fast-forward to July of 2013, we got a new race (Dewman) and class (Braver) with the advent of the Code: Episode 2 update, with new and improved skills and class combinations it became easier to accomplish the more difficult content that had been rolling out slowly but surely, but eventually it got to the point where the only viable way to complete certain content was to play one of the more “powerful builds” that had been perfected by the community over time. This became a detriment to players who enjoyed experimenting with the builds they found enjoyable because they could not keep up with what players were expecting of others, and on top of that, only a handful of skills were deemed “viable” so you would see a flurry of people using the exact same skills no matter the situationii.
Now we arrive to the current day, with the release of Code: Episode 3 and the changes were welcomed with open arms. This “expansion” not only addressed the power level issue that the community had with the game by raising older skills up to the more recent tier of quality, it added another new class called the Bouncer. Whereas the Braver specializes in hybrid melee and ranged (shooting) combat, the Bouncer specializes in the hybridization of melee combat and technicsiii.
Along with a plethora of balance changes, this update houses a massive amount of content and other fun-filled changes:
First off, they increased movement speed. I know this seems like a small deal, but let me assure anyone reading this, it’s not a trivial change. Up until now, people have relied on various Dash Cancelling methods to move about maps at a quicker pace, now you can move about at roughly the same speed by just running! This benefits class combinations that could not utilize the weapons necessary to move about quicker, and spares the rest of us the effort needed to maintain speed.
Skill trees were re-worked so that people could create more focused talent plans, which can be seen at the PSO2 Skill Simulator site (http://pso2-skill.pwnedgalaxy.net/) this allowed people to not have to spend skill points into prerequisites that didn’t add anything to what they were aiming for, and use the new-found extra points in trying new combinations.
A new Casino area was added, here you can play a couple of games in which you spend a new currency “CC” to play and your rewards can be good or bad, depending on how lucky you are. The first game is your usual slot machine game where you bet 1-5 coins and watch the columns roll, you know how it is.
The other game is a hybrid shooting/Pachinko game, here the goal is to shoot the passing Mesetans and the occasional Joker or Mr. Umbla and hope the coins hit you. This game can be played with up to 4 players per instance, and can be a great time to waste a lot of time when you’re tired of plowing through monsters.
With your coins you win you can purchase some item camouflages, boosts, and most importantly: affixing modifiers.
Many other updates include, but are not limited to: EXP buffs on many Client Orders, new Time Attack quests and Orders, a new world and free-field, new NPCs with their own set of unique COs, new Partner Cards, hybrid class Partner Cards, Daily Order EXP Boost, higher experience gains when in a party, and much much more.
Lastly, I’d like to note that the lobbies were re-worked altogether, what’s amusing is the large amount of screens added to the gate area, now you’ll never be left out of the loop on what’s new in the world of Phantasy Star Online!