What is it?
"Welcome Back, ARKS!" is one of the six campaigns packaged into the PSO2 Global Anniversary Event.
It is essentially an expanded repeat of the much-hated "Return to PSO2 or Encourage Alliance Activity" campaign that tarnished the NGS Announcement Celebration event.
It gives unique rewards (detailed on the campaign page) for players for not playing the game after a certain past date (in this case, 17th February). It gives other unique rewards for new players. Additionally, if either of these players are in an alliance during the second maintenance from now (13th April), everyone in that alliance will get these unique rewards too.
The details are inconsistent! The text describes all logins beyond 17th March (last maintenance) as qualifying, but the red text beneath the reward says "Requirements must be met between between the end of maintenance on 3/31 and the beginning of maintenance on 4/13" which would mean only logins after the next maintenance qualify. Since this is the exception to all the above description I expect this is incorrect, but it's something to watch out for.
(GMs, can you please review the dates of the campaign listing with respect to the above paragraph?)
All rewards are distributed much later on, during the 12th May maintenance, and will appear in the Visiphones of all qualifying players.
How do I qualify?
If you make your account between the last maintenance (17th March) and two maintenances from now (13th April), you'll qualify automatically.
If your account is older than this, the only way to qualify is to have someone who matches the above description in the same alliance as you during the 13th April maintenance.
New players have this icon somewhere above their head. Note this icon can last for a time (7 days?) or seemingly until the player levels up enough (to 30?) so someone with this icon in the early days of campaign might not qualify if they started before last maintenance.
If you haven't logged in three maintenances ago (17th February), be sure to log in before the second maintenance from now (13th April) and you'll qualify automatically.
If you have logged between three maintenances ago and last maintenance (17th March), the only way to qualify is to have someone who themselves is a returning player in the same alliance as you during the 13th April maintenance.
Returning players have this icon somewhere above their head. It means that sometime in the last 30 days, they hadn't logged in for at least 30 days. Be careful! If you have or recruit an alliance member with this icon it does not mean they're guaranteed to qualify for the campaign. If they have returning status now but lose it before the 13th April maintenance, they cannot qualify your alliance. So it is only an indicator that they might qualify.
You can see who in your alliance hasn't logged in for a while: In the menu, select Community > Alliance Commands > Alliance Member List and change the tab view to Offline.
The Login Status column says "No recent logins" if they haven't logged in for a time. I think it's 30 days? Take screenshots of this menu ASAP for future reference. If before the 13th of April the message disappears for an alliance member, it means they logged in and they might qualify you. But again, it's not a certainty; if it's 30 days then they may have logged in between three maintenances ago and 30 days ago, meaning they can't qualify as a returning player for this campaign.
Sadly there is no way to guarantee a qualifying player is in your alliance in advance of reward distribution. The only way to know for sure will be after the 12th May maintenance; if you get the rewards, they qualified. If they don't, they didn't. Just like the previous "Return to PSO2" campaign, the game is simply incapable of confirming if your alliance members will qualify.
On Xbox and the Microsoft Store PC distribution, the Alliance Member List menu allows you to see the Xbox Live profile of the alliance member, provided they haven't set it to Private. This may be a way to contact an inactive alliance member to encourage them to return, but please be considerate that they may not wish to and may not welcome too much solicitation!
What else can I do?
Invite new alliance members!
If you don't already have a new or returning player in your alliance, and it seems unlikely that anyone who has "No recent logins" will return before the end of the campaign, you'll need to invite players that do qualify to join your alliance and remain in it until the 13th April maintenance has ended.
The easiest way to do this is to find a player with one of the icons shown above in the ARKS Lobby. You can see if they're already in an alliance by clicking their character, then selecting Characters > View Character Info. This will display a window that either names their alliance or says "No Alliance".
You may want to try inviting these players to join your alliance. But please be considerate when doing so! They may not be interested in joining an alliance, or may be looking to join an alliance with a particular shared interest that yours might not be relevant for. They may also have already been asked to join other alliances due to this campaign. Whatever the cause, if they are not interested please respect that and do not try to pester them into joining anyway.
It may be permissible for someone to create or own a secondary account for the purposes of sitting inactive in an alliance to qualify for these rewards.
But do not treat this as advice as I personally do not believe it is 100% certain. In February and September last year GMs have said it is okay for one person to have multiple accounts with the same household or IP address, but this is caveat by "as long as you're not doing anything against the TOS". As shown by the September link, I'm not confident that using a non-primary account to qualify for campaign rewards whose spirit is for players to return is permitted.
(If a GM can stop by and confirm if creating a new non-primary account or logging in with a dormant non-primary account is permissible, it would be most welcome!)
The singular unique emote reward from the old "Return to PSO2" campaign was 130: Operating Terminal which is tradable. These rewards may be similarly tradable. But they may not. If they are, it may be wise to expect them to ask for at least 5 million meseta each.