You've joined ARKS. Now what?
Phantasy Star Online 2 is an anime-inspired MMORPG with real-time action combat. After navigating through its rocky PC launch in North America, you've finally logged into Phantasy Star Online 2. You've chosen your race, gender, and starting class and completed the tutorial mission. Now there are eight years of content and upgrades to dig through. While the basic gameplay loop is pretty straightforward, PSO2 has a lot of complexity in its classes and mechanics. TechRaptor has compiled some quick tips and tricks to help you find your footing, since it can be a lot to take in at once. It all starts with your Ship.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Tips and Tricks
Choosing the Right Ship
Ships are a fancy way to say "server" in PSO2. It costs real money to transfer between Ships. The overwhelming majority of the time, you'll perform content with people on the same Ship. Be sure to coordinate with any friends before creating your character. Leaving a lowbie on a server is one thing, but abandoning hours of progress to play with friends is painful.
Ships are further divided into Blocks, or smaller instances. You can freely switch Blocks, though each has a maximum capacity. An easy way to change your Block is to head into the elevator off to the side in the shopping area. From there, you can also see the fullness of the Ship's different Blocks and move to a different instance. You can also use it to access your Personal and Alliance (guild) Quarters.
Each character on a Ship has a 300-slot personal storage. In addition to the personal storage, there is a 200-slot shared storage for all characters on an account on the same Ship. This makes it easy to transfer over equipment between characters. Up to three characters can be created on the same Ship for free. Consider adding a couple of alts, even if they're just mules. Dump things like Grinders and Synthesizers into shared storage and pull out as needed. There's a lot of stuff to gather in Phantasy Star Online 2, so maximizing your storage space is a good idea.
You can send things directly to storage at any time by entering your inventory and selecting the option. Retrieve things by going to the terminals with the light green cubes. Consumables, furniture, and other minor items usually stack, so you may want to acquire a stockpile and regularly send them to storage.
Phantasy Star Online 2's classes each equip different weapons. Everyone can utilize a Gunblade, and the only other weapons multiple classes can use are Talises and Assault Rifles. Many weapons come with Augments, little bonuses that can enhance your stats. For the most part, you want to find a weapon with an Augment that upgrades your main offense power (MEL for melee, jet boots, and wands, RNG for ranged weapons, TEC for Forces, and so on). Other Augments depend on the class and build, but if your race has an HP penalty you may want to add an HP-boosting Augment for good measure.
As for armor (Units), prioritize Augments that also boost relevant offensive stats and HP, especially if playing a Newman or Deuman. Units can also add elemental resistances. Each character can wear up to three pieces of armor, composed of Rear, Arm, Leg, and Sub Units. Sub Units can be used in any slot, but otherwise you can have only one of each type of armor.
Using Grinders and unwanted gear, you can also upgrade the numeric values of the weapon or armor with Enhancement. Both Affixing Augments and Enhancement can be done by speaking to Item Scientist Dudu or Monica in the shopping area. You'll acquire a lot of fodder for both Enhancements and Augments, so be sure to visit them often. The costs can add up, but it's rather easy to make Meseta just by running around and killing hordes of monsters. If the weapon reaches a certain enhancement level, you can unlock Potentials to further increase its potency.
If you want to buy or sell on the open market, you can do so from any Visiphone. Set up a second five-digit numeric password and you can search for just about anything in the game in the public marketplace. Use the filters to narrow down your search, or you can manually type out the item in the search box. Make sure to disable any filters outside of the item's category before searching, otherwise it may not show any results.
These little robot buddies come in handy in combat. You can raise it by feeding it various items to improve its stats. Raising a MAG is a rather obtuse process that can be costly if messed up. There are ways to reduce its stats and fix your MAG, but it's far easier (and cheaper) to just do it right the first time. It is also possible to acquire new MAGs for 300 AC or reset them for 500 AC, but AC is a premium currency which costs money. Sometimes you can get a free MAG ticket through events, but these tickets are few and far between.
Generally you'll want to focus on a single stat for your MAG, as they significantly boost your base stats. In-depth information about raising and using MAGs can be found in videos by Azelyra and Anamana!. MAGs cannot be transferred between characters, so you may want to make alts, each specializing in a MAG type. Don't forget to equip the MAG in the menu, located under the Inventory main menu. From there, you can also feed it and see the stat adjustments for whatever you're using as food. Your MAG will let you know when it's low on energy with a low-battery symbol. Be sure to feed it regularly, but feed it the right kinds of food to ensure it grows properly.
To condense it down to basics, your main "foods" depend on the kind of MAG you want. Each item increases its energy 33%, so you can feed it up to three things at once from a dead battery. Its energy slowly depletes over time and using its abilities. Skills that "gain" progress towards leveling up will be red, and skills that will decrease in experience are blue. Your general foods are as follows:
- MEL MAGs will eat melee weapons (swords, wired lances, partisans, twin daggers, double sabers, knuckles, katanas, soaring blades, and gunblades) to increase their MEL and DEX while reducing MEL-DEF. Feed them Monomates or four-star furniture to reduce their DEX. Monomates also increase MEL-DEF.
- RNG MAGs eat ranged weapons (assault rifles, launchers, bows, twin machine guns) to increase RNG and DEX while reducing RNG-DEF. Feed them Dimates or five-star furniture to reduce DEX. Dimates also increase RNG-DEF.
- TEC MAGs need magical weapons (rods, wands, jet boots, talises, harmonizers) to raise TEC and DEX while reducing TEC-DEF. Feed Trimates or six-star furniture to reduce DEX. Trimates also increase TEC-DEF.
- DEX MAGS, mostly for Bravers, just need discs. Discs for Photon Arts and Techniques tend to drop by the truckload. Adding weapons won't provide much DEX, instead adding far more of the weapon's type. This can screw up your stats, so just stick with discs.
In essence, read before you feed and you'll be OK. Watch your meters and reduce as needed. You can get a MAG quite early, but it requires talking to a specific NPC and doing some simple tasks for her. Listen to her explanation on MAGs and she'll give you a license.
Do Client Orders, Please Cofy
Cofy is an important NPC. She resides on the east side of the Gateway, just past the Missions Desk. Like many NPCs, she assigns Client Orders (quests). Many of her Orders unlock useful things, such as extra Palettes, subclasses, and the almighty MAG. Complete Afin's Client Orders as well, since he's close by and can help you adjust to the game. He also hangs around in front of the Gateway.
Check back with Cofy constantly and do whatever she asks. Client Orders are a great way to net easy experience, money, and sometimes gear. Cofy's tasks should always be your top priority.
As a matter of fact, to see what you should be doing, hit Escape to open the menu and select the globe icon. Check "ARKS MISSION" to get a good idea of what to do next. Claim rewards, since there are plenty to obtain which can make leveling easier and faster. Don't forget to pick up Titles at the Title Counter, either. They're located between the east Mission Desk and the Gateway and also provide rewards.
Practice Quests are also a great way to get a handle on the basics of a class. Take one at the Mission counter to run through each class and learn about its weapons and basic mechanics. You can also learn the weapon's rhythm for performing Perfect Strikes, an easy (and important) way to increase your damage. Basically, click when the circle around your character turns red when performing a combo. Chaining Perfect Strikes together boosts the efficacy of normal attacks, Photon Arts, and Techniques, so be sure to master the timing for your weapons. You can do Practice Quests without changing your class, as well, so play around until you find something you like.
When doing quests, Emergency Trials frequently spawn. These mini-quests involve a variety of goals, such as defeating specific enemies or collecting things. Duels can spawn a boss or miniboss in the field. If a boss spawns, try to kill it. Depending on your gear, class, and skill level, this may require multiple players. The loot is instanced and specific to each player, so feel free to take whatever's not nailed down. If automatically picking up Meseta is disabled in the options, turn it on as well. Each class has a pool of common drops, so you may need to vary up your classes or search the market if you want to get all of the Photon Arts/Techniques.
In addition to Emergency Trials, be sure to kill monsters to fill up your weapon's Gear, a gauge you can see right above the currently equipped Palette. Filling the Gear fuels a lot of the fancier tricks you can do and generally improves your combat prowess. When fighting monsters, sometimes they have big, glowing red lumps on them. These are weak points. Go Doctor Pimple Popper on them for extra damage. Switch to an over-the-shoulder view using "Z," which comes in handy when aiming certain Techniques (such as Barta) or a ranged weapon. Locking on (default "Q") can be a bit finicky for frontliners, but it makes aiming some attacks (Grants, Rafoie, and Zonde, for instance) much easier.
Read Skill Trees
Each class has its own Skill Tree. Putting points into these enhances your performance in various ways. By default, you have one Skill Tree per class/subclass, though you can buy more with real money. SP are gained upon leveling up, and one is needed for each point in the tree. Take care when spending SP, as a reset costs real money. Also keep in mind any points spent will carry over whenever using that class as a main or subclass. For instance, a Fighter with the Hunter subclass will carry over their points invested into both trees when using either as a main or subclass.
Like with MAGs, this means it's very beneficial to straighten out your classes ahead of time. Since there are quite a few traps in the Skill Trees, be sure to make use of the Skill Simulator. Set the version to English (PSO2NA) to ensure you have the right skills and classes. if you're still overwhelmed by the options, the community has come to the rescue. They've provided plenty of NA-ready and viable builds for every class. Be sure to talk to Bhea at the Class Counter in the Gateway area if you want to change classes.
Organize your Palette!
Slotting skills in Phantasy Star Online 2 is quite simple. Pick a slot, add a weapon, and enter your skill through either the Equip Weapons or Customize menu options. Playing with a three-button setup gives you more options on the Palette, so it's generally recommended. You can carry the same weapon over onto other Palettes, as well.
When playing a Technique-based class (Forces, Techters, Bouncers with jet boots), consider keeping one Palette line reserved for buffing/support and fill the others with offensive skills. This keeps it organized so you know exactly which Palette to swap to. Swapping in mid-mission to deal with threats is an important skill to learn, so get into the rhythm of changing your Palette. if you rely on exploiting elemental weaknesses (Bouncer, Force), try to align your Palettes so they utilize the same elemental line. The same advice goes for single-target, stance, and AoE setups, where the elements won't always match. And, obviously, this is all best done when not on a mission. Most of your stances will need to go on your Subpalette, along with consumable items. These are still easy to access, just use the number keys if using a keyboard.
When changing classes at the Class Counter, you can save and load your Palettes, weapons, and armor under "Loadouts." There's plenty of space for each class, so be sure to save them if you change classes. It's much easier to just load off the preset than to have to manually slot everything all over again.
Acquire an Auxiliary
If your Client Orders are piling up, you may want to consider sending in a proxy. Enter the Auxiliary, a miniature retainer who can provide some assistance. Auxiliaries are unlocked after completing one of Cofy's Client Orders. You can design them however you want at the Salon, looking just like a normal character, if a bit smaller in scale. These pint-sized pals can join you in battle, as well. If you're running without a Force or Techter, these can provide some useful support from the backlines, since their offense can leave a bit to be desired. Equip them with arms and armor you don't need and let them go to town. All of their functions can be accessed via the Auxiliary console furniture item, gained for free after completing Cofy's request. Place that down in your Personal Quarters to access their functions.
There's still plenty more to discover in Phantasy Star Online 2. Please continue to check back with TechRaptor for the latest.
Do you have any advice for newbies? Ever screwed up a MAG? Let us know in the comments below. Just turn off Symbol Chat, though. From what I've seen on Thorn it's probably for the best.