Thursday, September 6, 2012

Phantasy Star Online 2 (Part Three)

The gameplay of Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) actually works pretty much like Metal Assault, Crimecraft and Divine Souls. They all work based on having a central hub for player to player interactions and then from there create instances where people can solo or team together for adventures.

Phantasy Star Online 2 - First AreaPhantasy Star Online 2 - Second Area
Essentially, the hub consists of two areas only. The first area houses NPCs which provide services to creating of instance dungeons, client orders (quests) and skills trainer. The second area kind of acts like a shopping area. It houses NPCs which sells basic equipment and items as well as upgrading services.
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Counter
To create an instance, you will first need to locate the reception-like counter as shown in the picture above. The NPC on the left handles the instance creations while the NPC on the right (apparently called Koffee or something) gives some particular quests such as expansion of weapon palettes, obtaining your first "Mag" (somewhat like a helpful pet in regular MMOs) and also the opening of new instances for exploration (like forest, cave and desert).
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Manager
Anyway, after you approach the NPC on the left (press "E" to interact with the NPC), three options will appear. The first option allows you to create new instances. The second one allows you to join existing instances created by other players. The third option let's you exit the conversation.
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Type
Assuming you've opted to create your own instance, you will be further shown a couple more selections. And from what I can guess, the first one allows you to create a free exploration type of instance where you run around and explore the area until you reach the end with a final boss to defeat. If you can complete this particular type of instance under a certain time limit, you will open up a new instance to explore (as mentioned earlier but only if you undertook the respective quest from Koffee).

The second option allows you to create mission type instances whereby you run around the instance to complete a particular objective. Upon completion of the objective, the instance will end (but you can still opt to roam around though).

The last option was not previously available to me actually. I think it only appeared after I recently completed a particular "leg" of the storyline. Therefore, I'm guessing the type of instance created using this option would probably be somehow related to the story mode.
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Emergency InstancePhantasy Star Online 2 - Emergency Notice
Once in a while (several times a day for an hour each), however, there will be an extra option that appears with an exclamation mark appended to it. This is actually an event type of instance generated by the server under the scenario that the "Ark" is under attack. The tell-tale sign of this event is that you will hear a server-wide broadcast of the invasion. At the same time, all video and graphic billboards on board the Ark will immediately switch to show the word "Emergency".
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance SelectionPhantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Entrance
Upon creating an instance, you should head for the "doorway" to the instance as shown in the picture above. Stepping through this doorway will immediately transfer your character to the "prep zone" (a small area where you can prepare your character for the instance or wait for other players to join your instance).
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Prep Zone
In this prep zone, there's a couple of terminals. The ones shown in the picture above is for item selling and buying (left terminal) and storage (right terminal). The items you can buy from this terminal is limited to mostly healing and trap tool items (consumables).

There's three more terminals that aren't shown in the picture though, but one functions as an "instance changer" that allows you to change to other instances. Another sort of functions as a healing/boost terminal or something. I'm guessing that the options in this terminal sort of sells you temporary "boosts" (HP, PP, etc) for the instance your about to do. The final terminal allows you to "recruit" NPCs or other friends in your friend list to tag along with you for the instance. However, these recruited allies will be controlled by the system AI and will not actually be alive.
Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Screenshot 1Phantasy Star Online 2 - Instance Screenshot 2
Anyway, after all preparations are complete, just proceed to jump down the portal and you will be sent to the start of the instance.

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