Sega had a Phantasy Star Online 2 event today in Akihabara to explain how things are going following the early playtest of the upcoming PC game. You may have seen the opening movie earlier today, but now hear from producer Satoshi Sakai, sound director Hideaki Kobayashi, and director Yuya Kimura.
Sakai began by explaining the aim of the second alpha test. First, they want to test the improved points from the first test, as well as new features that have been added since. They're also keen to test the server load with more people and see if the new features affect it at all. Last time they had 6,000 testers, but this time they're looking for about 50,000.
New for the second alpha, the My Room system and Item Lab.
My Room is a space that players arrange, and, when fully upgraded, can accomodate up to 12 friends at a time. You need a renovation ticket to change the overall layout.
The Item Lab allows you to strengthen items up to ten grades. The only catch is that the more you upgrade, the higher your chance of failure is. If you fail to upgrade, the price of trying will go down, but it will never be free.
They've also added some new default costumes and a new boss, "Kyatadoran."
Since the first test they've made overall improvements to the interface, which can accepted keyboard & mouse or gamepad inputs. You can also customize keys. They've also put a lot of work into the screen layout and icons, making everything easier to look at.
The party joining process has been simplified and they made it so you can transfer directly from the lobby to your camp ship.
The character editor now allows for morphing and face selection—plus more hairstyles, the ability to match your eyebrow color to your hair color, and adjustable height. It seems like lots of little details have been made customizable.
Familiar to PSO players, Mag pets will make an appearance, but not in time for the second alpha test.
The theme song is orchestral; this was Sakai's idea: "We're calling it PSO, so we need to invoke an epic feel. For that reason I want to go with an orchestra instead just a song with vocals." It sounds like Kobayashi had a hard time on this project, as Sakai sometimes gave harsh criticism, but in the end he came around, saying, "Mr. Sakai's judgements were correct."
They're looking for the next round of testers until January 17th, but you need a Japanese address to apply. We'll leave you with some more screenshots: