Video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls_P_8vhwwU
Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally coming to the west and it's time you learned how to play, so that you can hit the ground running once it launches.
Before logging in, you will be able to change your voice acting to Japanese if you prefer this in games.
When choosing a ship, remember that these are servers. So, characters have very limited cross play across ships. There are some Shared Ships, at least in the Japanese version, but they are designed for very specific activities. Be sure to choose a server you are happy to stay on. Are your friends there? Is the community you want to be a part of there? Ship Transfers cost real money, so plan accordingly.
After choosing a ship, you will be able to create a character. You've got a lot of options here, the main thing you should be aware of is that race and gender cannot be changed after creation, but you can recustomize your character at the salon.
Race and class will only make a difference to the advanced player who wants to min max and squeeze the best stats out of their character. For most players, you'll be fine with going for what looks cool. But, if you're thinking of the end game, you should seek out builds and guides on min maxing races, classes and sub classes. This is a beginner's guide, so we won't be going that deep.
When you first make a character, you'll have access to 6 classes at creation. Don't worry too much, because your class can be changed at the class counter after logging in at no cost. Any character you make will have access all classes, so multiple characters is only really required if you're min maxing or you've done everything on a character. Note that multiple characters after a certain point will cost real world money.
First off, if you open your menu with the menu or options buttons on console or escape on keyboard. Head across to the cogwheel for options and familiarise yourself with the default keys for your control under control settings and then assign keys.
You can change your view by pressing in the change view button for adventure or shooter camera styles depending on your class. Jumping and moving is pretty self explanatory.
The basics of PSO2 combat is locking on to enemies with the lock on key, then comboing enemies with standard attacks, photon arts and techs. If you time your attack so that your next attack lines up with the red circle that appears around your character, you will be able to make the next attack hit harder.
You also have the option to dodge and block depending on your weapon and class.
Any commands set on the buttons surrounding the action keys can be selected with the dpad and used by pushing in your left stick. On keyboard you can simply press the numbered key for the same affect.
Your usual goal in any combat area is to move from one area to the next and to eventually make it to the target enemy area. Once you've completed the objective, you'll then be sent back to the camp ship. This is the preparation and exit room that sits between the lobbies and missions.
Loot will be dropped by enemies and chests, this can range from consumables, meseta the game's base currency, equipment, resources and discs.
Discs contain photon art and technique upgrades, you should use these as soon as you find one that is an upgrade for you, as this will increase your combat potency.
You can also increase your rewards by teaming up with other players. The more people in your party, the better the rewards. Including EXP, Rare drop rate and meseta drops.
If you obtain any gear that is equipable by your class, but you cannot equip it, check the card when highlighting the equipment and check what the stat requirement is. You may need a few levels before it becomes usable for you.
A lot of loot will drop as you play the game, if you want to reduce the amount of items you want to pick up manually, there are auto loot settings you can play with under options and then game settings, scroll down to auto pick up settings and you have a bunch of options to play with here.
If you ever want to quit a quest quickly, simply open party options and abandon quest there. Here you can also boot unruly party members or disband.
Rebecca in the Gate Area will offer Main Quests and Story Quests. Main quests allow you to access featured daily quests for XP, Free roaming fields for levelling and crafting, as well as bonus quests. Story quests will allow players to access the episodic story content in PSO2. There are also subquests that allow players to do missions on different planets with Arks Quests, as well as time attacks and challenges.
Rebecca also offers Training quests, which will train you in how each class works. They do play differently, so it's worth doing this when trying a class for the first time. They take no longer than 5mins.
Astarte's ARKS missions are like a mini-achievement system that guides you through different functions of the game and rewards you with items, meseta and xp. These are worth doing to get the lay of how the game plays.
With ARKS missions there are daily missions that reset every day and upon completion you get a bonus key for levelling quests. Keys can also be obtained from the daily featured quests.
Next to Rebecca, you'll find Cofy, who offers client orders that allow you to expand your character, access mags and subclasses, unlock new areas and weapon palettes. These should be your primary focus to get cleared first, as it will open up your game.
On the left side of the Gate Area, Fina offers Daily Client Orders, which will also give you money and a +5% daily boost upon completion, which is a passive triboost and can stack up to 50%. These Dailies are per character, so you can switch between multiple characters to reap the benefits. Especially since storage is account based, so money and resources are accessible by all characters.
Storage can be accessed via these green cube terminals. You have multiple types of storage, some cost real money or the premium set subscription to access.
Next to these you'll usually find the Visionphone, which is this terminal with the two pink rings on top of it. This is your character service terminal. You can access player shops here to search for items and equipment you wish to buy. Note that you do need to set a passcode. To run a player shop, you will need the premium subscription. Gathering achievements are also found here, as well as crafting options.
Friend Partner allows you to broadcast a copy of your characters to other players. They will be able to hire your character to explore with. This is static, so you will need to update this when you want to refresh it.
ARKS search is a player and alliance search, here you can find friends or players you may have quested with, along with an alliances, which are PSO2's clans.
Next is your compendium, this is a library of all the items and equipments you've come across.
Play records are your character activity records, last items found history, recent rare enemies seen and so on.
Rankings lists the server's best time attack rankings, as well as your own progress.
Item codes is where you will redeem any promotional codes for special items, equipment and so on. You might find these at conventions like PAX or in social media or email promotions.
Campaign receipt rewards are where you will get rewards from promotional periods. For example, the rewards from participating in the Closed Beta of PSO2.
Display Currently Recruiting Alliances allows you to seek out an alliance clan if you have yet to have one or to scope out some information on one you may have seen.
There are more options in the Japanese version that will likely make their way to the western release in time.
The shopping area can be found by heading into the blue teleport chambers. The green chambers allow you to change the block or channel of the server. As for the shopping area, here you can access the weapon shop, a tekker or an item identifier. Then there's the item enhancer and pet store for summoners.
Over the other side of this are you'll find the costumer for aesthetics, the unit store for armor upgrades, the disc store for base level skills and the item shop for consumables.
At the back of this area is the casino where players can use their casino coin tickets and try their luck at winning some cosmetic items.
On the top right is the salon, here you can recustomize your character. Note that some options will require special tickets or star gems. You can also set up your auxiliary partner for your personal quarters.
The left top side has special reward token vendors. Here you can spend your photon currencies, excubes and badges to buy some cool looking weapon camos, crafting items, mag items and more.
Next to Jean, we have these scratch card machines, you need FUN points to access this, which can be obtained through social actions and in the form of reward tickets. You can buy one ticket or ten to get access to a bunch of seasonal cosmetic items.
There's also lobby football here if you're bored.
You can also find shops for room decorations, cosmetics and more behind Jean, below the cafe.
The cafe above this is an area with a focus around crafting. You can get special client orders here based around crafting and finding resources. You can also craft items such as rings here, as well as hand over materials for special meal items that buff trade skills.
You'll quickly be introduced to NPCs with Client Orders, these are your quests that familiarise you with different aspects of the game. You should try to do any appropriate ones based on your class, the difficulty of quest you're able to access and any areas you're focusing on. These are a big way to obtain EXP and Meseta early on.
By hitting the view button or via the personal icon in the menu, you can access the quick menu. Here you will be able to access Alliance and Personal Quarters.
In the personal quarters you will be able to decorate a room, access storage and the visionphone, as well as place an auxiliary partner. Note that to expand your room, you will require real life money or a premium subscription.
With the auxiliary terminal, an auxiliary partner can be set. Their job is to run crafting quests for you and manage your player shop. You also have options to kit them out and set their subclass.
Alliances are clans or guilds in PSO2. Joining an alliance not only gives you extra people to play and socialise with, but you will have access to the photon tree, which provides passive buffs like exp or rare drop bonuses. You also get a cool icon next to your name and will have access to the Alliance Quarters, which is like a clan hall. As the clan upgrades you'll even get special alliance accessories.
To the left side of Rebecca outside of her booth, you'll find the Title vendor. Here you can get rewards for accomplishing different feats in the game. You also get cool titles to display under your name, but some of these rewards will also give you coveted items, such as massive EXP tickets or photon spheres.
If you're ever in the lobbies and the ceiling is either flashing or block red, that means an Urgent Quest is taking place. These are periodic special quests that up to 12 players can participate in across 3 teams of 4. Some of the best loot inthe game can be obtained by participating in these. To start or join one, simply wait until the lead up period ends and access the Urgent Quest with Rebecca. It's always on top and highlighted in Yellow.
As I mentioned earlier, the camp ship is your in between room for preparation and debreifing. Here, you can access storage, check on crafting missions you have, change your mission via the mission terminal, get a buff from the drink menu and also access a simple consumable shop.
There's also the ally terminal, where you can hire NPC allies from client orders, your friend's friend partners, your auxiliary partner as support and then choose from the free range of character partners other players have listed.
Note that the Ally and Free partners will always be at your appropriate level, while the friend depends on what level they listed them at and your support will need to be levelled through sending them on quests.
To start a mission or return to the planet, all you have to do is jump into the pool at the back.
Now that we have a big chunk of the basics out of the way, there's a few things we can discuss that are a little more advanced.
In the released version of PSO2, you'll get a login stamp and an item each day you log in. So, even if you're not active, you should at least log in once a day to get some rewards for when you do get back into the grind.
Weapons and armor can be upgraded in the shopping district. Here you can visit the item lab to combine weapons together to increase their level with grinders, synthesizers and other items. Armor units can also be ground to improve their level. This is where you will be squeezing the most out of any piece of equipment you're currently able to equip.
Bea in the centre of the gate ship offers class change options and skill trees. Cofy will provide a quest to unlock subclasses pretty early on. Changing your classes is perfectly fine. However, a word of warning about skill trees. To reset one, you will need to pay with real world money, so, it's best to hold off on filling your skill tree out until you've found a build on the internet that fits your playstyle. Google is your friend here, sites like the PSO2 reddit, PSO-World and a variety of discords will provide a swath of builds, so that you don't have to do all the theorycrafting. The games been out in Japan for 8 years, so lots of work has been done in that regard.
Similarly, you will get access to the Mag early on. This is your little over the shoulder robot buddy. Think of it as a tamagochi that boosts your stats, provides buffs in different scenarios and will later on allow you to summon a photon blast once it's evolved. Again, reseting your mag will cost your real world money. So, seek out a build before feeding it too many items.
ARKS missions, Titles and other rewards will sometimes offer large XP tickets as prize. If you receive one that offers 1 million EXP. Wait until you're beyond level 40 to use this, as Lv 30 and 40 level caps require less XP than these tickets offer. Cofy will also be your go to person for increasing your level cap as you approach it.
Once you reach level 75 on a class, your whole account will receive a boost to stats relative to the maxed out class. So, it's going to be worthwhile to level up every class to get the most out of your character.
You might see players talking in pictures around the lobbies. These are symbol chat and you can copy other players pictures into your own collection. Simply click the orange bar above your first slot and review your history. When selecting one, you can save it to a slot in your collection. Same goes for alliance icons. You can also make your own symbol chats by selecting an empty slot.