Star gems and fresh finds - How PSO2NA preys on your wallet

The Phantasy Star Fleet discord server states the following in its #na-guides-and-info channel. I am posting this here because the official forums are the best place for our voices to be heard.

Before we can talk about some stuff, we need to talk about Star Gems. Star Gems are an ingame currency obtainable for free through various methods or via real money. In JP, there's an alarmingly large amount of ways to get SG for free. In NA, you get them for costumes (30 a day unless you pay for another character), or S ranking story modes (one time reward). They removed the ability to get SG from the casino in NA because ????.

NA has a "mission pass" to let you get cosmetics and such by playing each week (think battle pass, but half free - You need to pay 200 SG (~$9) once per pass to get the cosmetic rewards). However, the items gained from these mission passes are untradeable/unsellable and the Mission Passes expire after time, which means that the cosmetics from previous mission passes (before PC was added) are 100% unobtainable for PC players.

In addition, NA has something called "Fresh Finds" (If you played JP, it replaces the Treasure Shop - It's similar, but only takes star gems for cosmetics while some other items can be bought with SG or meseta). It has 4 cosmetic items available for purchase that change daily, and 3 that change weekly. These items are also not tradeable, and are previous Fresh Finds items 100% unobtainable for PC players. You can see current and previous Fresh Finds here: https://github.com/SynthSy/PSO2-Dictionary/wiki/Fresh-Finds

To recap, the issue is that, alongside no real good ways to get SG in NA, they are heavily pushing SG items - You have fresh finds, which contains 4 cosmetics that change daily and can only be bought with SG. Then you have 3 weekly outfits/packages that can only be bought with SG. This does not exist in JP. There's a shop that sells 1 cosmetic item a day that costs SG, but you can also get that item with meseta instead if you desire. Then you have these SG sales where they take previously Arks Cash items (read: tradeable and buyable on the player market) and make you buy them in package deals instead of individually. Then, you have Material Storage, which is borderline necessary, costing SG, along with a number of other things in the game.

Even worse, nothing bought with SG is tradeable - So if you don't buy it right then and there, you'll likely never get it again until the Fresh Finds rotates back to it in months, if it ever does. This is a predatory practice called FOMO - Fear of Missing Out.

So in JP, you can get most of these items by paying meseta at any time - In NA, you either were there and bought them with real money (or used the super limited free SG you had) or just didn't get them.

It is completely understandable that a free to play game needs to get its money somehow. But Star gems and Fresh Finds are just predatory. I propose an alternative, whereby players may still be inclined to spend money, but not have to live with the anxiety of knowing that they may miss a day fresh finds has an item they want, and are never able to have it again. A type of "backburner" store, where every cosmetic item released may be purchased from with AC after said items are out of circulation. I may describe this more in detail in another thread.

If you don't like these systems that are in place, I urge you to speak up about it. With enough traction we can make a change. The same has been done for AC scratch tickets released before PC release - or at least, we've gotten a response saying that the GMs have brought it up to the developers.

I haven't bought anything worth over 110 SG yet from the fresh finds shop. I wanted the butterfly wings myself, but they weren't available when PC released, or at all since.

JP's data files have the mission pass mechanics by the way, they're just not enabled like they are in NA.

While I'm on daily, I do agree that there should be a way to obtain fresh finds beyond the day they are listed. A backlog (ex. 3 days) would be a great way to cover people who simply can't get online on a specific day, or maybe they're missing a small amount of star gems that they'd expect to make tomorrow or the day after that. Sure, I understand that fresh finds is suppose to be an ever rotating market of cosmetics and consumables to stay "fresh"...the discussion on how long "fresh" should be is something the community should have input on based around general activity, availability, and most importantly...star gems costs.

Let me put out a quick example; Let's say you're the kind to buy your star gems using real money (nothing wrong with that, it's your choice). But say the day before you get paid, something you really like is in the Star Gem fresh finds shop. Because of this, you're going to have to make a very uncomfortable choice of placing down money for star gems before your paycheck because you need to decide TODAY, or you skip it and hope the item enters the rotation again in the next few months...if ever in your PSO 2 lifetime. This isn't a choice people want to be put into, and while some may think it's silly to be in these kinda shoes, it's a real thing that happens when a consumer is pressured to buy something and everyone has their own financial situations.

Fresh finds should remain fresh, but that freshness in my opinion should be extended a few days. Long enough to be forgiving to casual players or specific star gem woes, but short enough to maintain that freshness. But as it is right now, I don't think I'd consider it predatory...just poorly implemented.

As for pre-PC items, I'm always going to be 100% for that. But it'd be really awkward for Xbox players since they've only recently had these items available to them. There are a few ideas I'd have for this. Maybe a separate temporary category containing the Xbox only cosmetics, or include them within an event or stack onto a mission pass's planned rewards to make it extra juicy.

Also we need a preview option in the fresh finds shop, which I consider the most concerning issue since you won't get a full idea of what you're buying until it's too late, and pictures on the internet only help so much.

@Saiyer Well said, but I disagree on one little thing: I am fine with players spending cash on SG on anything but Fresh Finds. I don't know if Sega looks into the statistics of where the populace spends their SG, but in the chance it does, I wouldn't want that percentage to be any higher as that would only keep the system in place.

hope the item enters the rotation again in the next few months...if ever

This is probably the biggest part of my disdain for Fresh Finds - we don't even know if the items will ever come back.

Sega knows the NA gaming community is used to paying out the ass and being robbed blind willingly. I speak out about this kind of thing in every game and there's always people defending the multi-million dollar corporation rather than seeing the problem. In a perfect world- Meseta could be exchanged for most items- and the price in Meseta would be decided by the value of that item in SG/AC. People would first grab these items with a premium currency but may later sell them for Meseta to those who missed them making it a win/win for both players involved..

I really hope that- at the very least.. PC players will have a chance to obtain those premium items they completely missed out on and had absolutely no chance to obtain. It's not just cosmetics either- a campaign that gave away a free skill-tree reset ended the day before PC launched- it's like they're purposely trying to favor xbox players up to this point. Those skill-tree resets are extremely useful and so far there's been no way to obtain them- and in JP you would usually get them when a class was re-worked... but we are up to date with buffs and nerfs in NA so we will likely get much less of these reset tickets.

Sega should definitely return the exclusive SG items and possibly the mission pass rewards in some manner down the line. But I wouldn't get your hopes up.

@MoldyAsp33874 said in Star gems and fresh finds - How PSO2NA preys on your wallet:

  Sega knows the NA gaming community is used to paying out the ass and being robbed blind willingly.

I can vouch for this in the GEM <> Gold trading market Guild Wars 2 has. I decided to buy a ton of GEMs and trade it all for gold. (Like hundreds of dollars worth.) The people at ArenaNet / NCSoft didn't think anyone would be this "dumb" to do that. (This was several years ago, before the first expansion even was announced.) I ended up completely crashing the gold / GEM value on this exchange system, and it lasted a mere 8 hours.

Then I realized, when I checked the prices again, the gold <> GEM ratio was back to what it was before I did this massive sell of GEMs for gold. It was almost a perfect reset of the ratio. As if the GMs / Devs injected artificial values into the exchange market after I crashed it. (Keep in mind, Guild Wars 2 has some restrictions on free accounts. Free accounts weren't really a thing back then either.)

Ever since I found this out, I never paid a single cent to NCSoft again besides Heart of Thorns' expansion to see how the new areas worked. (After that I stopped playing because I didn't like it at all.) As well as trying out WildStar. (RIP WildStar.) I had my WildStar refunded (which they had to permaban my account from playing WildStar to do.)

Am I missing something? I have never had to put down money for something I wanted in the Fresh Finds shop. And this includes some of the expensive outfits. I've gotten things entirely free that I had to gacha for on the Japanese side. SGs are fairly easy to obtain from what I can see.

Yeah, I missed the butterfly wings too because I wasn't logged that day. But I've seen other items return. They should show up eventually.

@Policroma-Sol i think you have probably just had a more fortunate experience than others so far (or less fortunate for your JP experience, as i've always been able to purchase AC scratch items with meseta). pop singer shadow was in the fresh finds shop for a single day, and it now sells for over 100m meseta despite being only a few million on JP, which should be an indication of the artificial scarcity this system adds

i do agree with you that this system has some benefits, but i overall agree with the topic creator that, because the items are (mostly) untradeable, it is more psychologically predatory than tradeable gacha items

I hate everything about the fresh finds shop for the reasons listed. I also hate SG in general. It's an unneeded currency when other F2P games have been proven to work perfectly fine with only the basic and premium currency.

@coldreactive 100000% I have spent over 600 so far lolol

@coldreactive said in Star gems and fresh finds - How PSO2NA preys on your wallet:

RIP WildStar

F for Wildstar. I didn't like the "everything's a telegraph" combat system with some stupid QTEs to break out of stuns/roots on top, or the cartoon look with immature jokes every time you level, or the "hurr harcode raids durr" endgame plan, or the stupid housing thing, but.. no never mind, now that I think about it, I never liked Wildstar. Screw Wildstar, good riddance.

Sorry, what was the topic again? PSO2NA has a greedy model? Yeah no duh, that's why you play on JP, still greedy but slightly less so.

@havox4 said in Star gems and fresh finds - How PSO2NA preys on your wallet:

everything's a telegraph

WildStar's telegraphs were actually surprisingly good. Because the telegraph's animation was actually the cast bar for the attack/spell/etc. So you didn't have to look at the enemy's target HUD to see their cast bar, you could just look at the ground, at the telegraph.

At least you didn't say you didn't like the Sci-Fi aspect of it. Because then why would you be playing PSO2?

Wildstars telegraphs had issue scaling up, worked on small fights but Arenas and Warplots melted my eyes. Also takes you out of the action, you're not watching the fight, you're watching the floor patterns. It was interesting unique idea, but as with other things Wildstar, half-baked.

I don't have issues with any setting, Sci-Fi or otherwise, I do have a soft spot for H.P.Lovecraft setting, RIP Secret World, the one MMO with atmosphere and where story was interesting to follow.

With that said, yes PSO2 for sure is a love/hate relationship. When it works, it works great. Trying new classes and speedrunning bosses, super fun. When it doesn't work, it's an endless source of frustration. The interface, the million different currencies, micro-managing the tiny inventory, everything about the daily orders, the gearing system and affixing, 95% of the content in game being obsolete and not worth doing, everything that's not emergency quest, bonus quest or a +350% leveling quest. It can be very grating. Unfortunately upcoming MMOs, New World, Elyon, Cloudpunk, all look very mediocre. Looks like I'm stuck with PSO2 for at least a year.

@havox4 Some of us don't want to play on JP servers. Instead of being complacent with greedy tactics on NA, why not protest against them?

I myself have refused to acknowledge the existence of the Fresh Finds shop due to how predatory the SG system is currently designed. $7CAD for an accessory, and if I want to buy a costume pack, $66CAD? For a costume that isn't even account bound, but only bound to the one character you use it on? That's absolutely fracking ridiculous. I love the PSO universe, and I would love to support the NA release, however, the pricing is way beyond what is reasonable considering how these items are limited in use to one character only.

I want to support the game, but I am not about to enable predatory behavior to do so.