Phantasy Star Online is a Massively Multiplayer OnlineAction RPG released for the Sega Dreamcast, then for the PC, Xbox and Gamecube that carries on the legacy of the Phantasy Star franchise.This story seems to take place a very long time after the original tetralogy. The story begins with a planet called Coral, whose environment has been destroyed due to a prolonged period of warfare. Seeing no other hope for survival, the nations of Coral band together and plan a mass-exodus to a new homeworld in space.Their first colony ship (Pioneer 1) discovers an ideal planet called Ragol, and begins preparations for the colonization. One year later, the second colony ship (Pioneer 2) arrives in orbit around Ragol. However, just as they establish contact, a mysterious explosion on the planet's surface engulfs Pioneer 1. The player, a government-approved mercenary known as a Hunter, is sent down to the surface by Pioneer 2 to piece together what happened.Phantasy Star Online comes in four episodes. Episode I is concerned with the efforts of Pioneer 2 in discovering the truth behind the mysterious explosion. To do this, the player must follow in the footsteps of Red Ring Rico, a famous Pioneer 1 Hunter who is also looking for answers. It soon becomes apparent that Ragol is not as safe as Pioneer 2 was led to believe, and that the people of Pioneer 1 were involved in some very questionable activities in their "colonisation" of Ragol.Episode II has the player work for the Lab, a scientific arm of the Pioneer 2 government. After passing some virtual-reality evaluation, the Lab tasks the player with investigating a secret laboratory that was recently discovered on Ragol's surface. This episode deals further with the dark activities of Pioneer 1, and involves a veteran Hunter called Heathcliff Flowen who fought alongside Rico.Episode III is a Card Battle Game sequel about two rival groups- the government-approved Hunters and the rebellious Arkz faction- and their battle for control over the revolutionary C.A.R.D. (Compressed Alternate Reality Data) technology.Episode IV, featured in the PC-only version Blue Burst, is set in-between Episodes II and III. It concerns the efforts of the Hunters to discover the secrets behind a mysterious meteor which suddenly changed course in space to crash on the surface of Ragol.All versions of Phantasy Star Online, including the most recent incarnation (Blue Burst), have had their online mode servers shut down. Sega had initially set up international servers for Blue Burst, but these were shut down on March 31st, 2008. The Japanese servers went down on December 27, 2010. However, in celebration the series' tenth anniversary, Sega is releasing an actual sequel. Phantasy Star Online 2 is set to release in 2012 on the PC, and 2013 on PS Vita.You can play PSO on a private server, located here.See Phantasy Star for the original tetralogy. Phantasy Star Universe is the Spiritual Successor to Phantasy Star Online.Has a character sheet under construction. The Phantasy Star Online sub-series includes:
Phantasy Star Online
Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II
Phantasy Star Online Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution
Abandoned Laboratory: The Underwater Base and the Gal Da Val Labnote In the Plus Edition in Episode II.
Absurdly High Level Cap: One of the worst offenders amongst MMOs. The highest level cap in all editions except the original is 200, which doesn't sound too bad except it requires just over 82 million experience points in a game where the enemies in the last dungeon on the highest difficulty give about 350 XP (in Episode I anyways - Episodes II and IV really crank things up by going all the way to... 450) and bosses cap out around 50k. Oh, and virtually all the game's content is perfectly beatable if you're at least level 130 (at which point you're not even 10% of the way to the cap going by experience points).
The last levels are almost exclusively for bragging rights, since your stat growth almost completely flatlines for the last 20 levels or so and the level up requirements get truly ridiculous thanks to the exponential XP requirements (to give an idea of just how bad it is, the character passes the halfway point for experience at level 182).
The player themselves can make action girls by creating a female character.
Apocalyptic Log: In Phantasy Star Online, Red Ring Rico's log goes from helpful tutorial to an increasingly depressing Apocalyptic Log as the game progresses. Heathcliff Flowen pens his own in Episode II.
A.I. Breaker: Enemies will not pursue you through doors, and will only ever take a straight line to you. This means that characters with ranged attacks can attack with impunity. This can backfire badly in the Mines, as the basic Gilchic enemies can return fire, and due to a bug the Sinow series can occasionally follow you through doorways.
Arc Words: Sort of- several boss themes (usually Final Boss themes) have names beginning with "IDOLA", for some reason. This has led some to believe that an Episode IV boss, Shambertin, is the True Final Boss for that episode; His theme is "IDOLA-The Fanatic Viper".
Asteroids Monster: Hitting one of the Slime enemies with either the third hit of a combo or an ice-element technique that doesn't successfully freeze it causes it to split into two. Since the Poufilly Slimes have a rare variant, this makes it essential for farming.
The Atoner: Ino'lis in Episode III after she inadvertently causes the death of her crush.
Battle Boomerang: Slicer weapons look like giant boomerangs, and are used in a throwing motion, but they instead form and fire off boomerang-shaped photon blades that bounce from target to target and don't come back.
BFG: The Ranger-exclusive Shot and Launcher weapons classes.
BFS: The reasonably-sized bladed implement is called a Saber. The Sword class of weapons is as long as most characters are tall, and is built for cleaving through multiple enemies per attack.
Bragging Rights Reward: Several hard-to-get items qualify, but probably most notably the Section ID Cards. Virtually useless as weapons, with no notable special abilities, they are amongst the rarest drops in the entire game, often requiring the player to kill tens of thousands of an enemy that may only spawn a half-dozen times in a single dungeon.
The Dreamcast Mag is also worth a mention. It requires five different rare item drops, which only drop off one of the rarest enemies for one month out of every year and only online (as it requires holiday rappies to be active). And for all that effort, it's not appreciably better than any other mag in the game. Oh, and those five rare items? You get them from another rare item, which turns into a random item when used, meaning you may need a lot more than 5 to get all the components you need (although Save Scumming can be used to get around that requirement).
Clown Car Base: Monests and Recoboxes should not be able to hold all of the monsters they spawn.
Color-Coded Multiplayer: PSO color-codes the speech bubbles of the party with a corresponding similarly colored icon next to their name.
Copy And Paste Environments: A common feature of all post-millennial Phantasy Star games, but PSO was really bad about it. The first episode of PSO contained only four mission environments, and told an entire story (complete with side stories and quests) within these maps.
Cores and Turrets Boss: Vol Opt, the Mines boss of Episode I, is nothing more than a room with a core hanging on the ceiling, six floor-mounted turrets, and a computer image scrolling across the monitors covering the walls. That is, until you wreck everything inside and force his second form to descend from the ceiling.
Difficulty Spike: Playing online is harder than offline. Plus you'll get less experience points. Though on the flipside, when you do hit a wall offline, you can't just ask other players to help out, so you may be more likely to have to grind for a while. Sadly, some of the best quests for grinding quickly are only available online too.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Most classes will only have access to these types of attack techniques, if they learn them at all. Forces get to add Light and Darkness to the mix.
Forced Tutorial: Kind of. The tutorial is an optional mission, so you're not forced to do it to beat the game. However, you ARE forced to do that mission to unlock more missions, which can make it really annoying if you've already beaten the game before doing the missions only to have your partner say he doesn't want you to be a liability (even if you're 13 levels higher than him and have better weapons). Even worse, the mission is on ALL difficulties, so even on the hardest difficulty you still have to listen to a lecture on how to attack (even though you need to beat the game or be at a certain level to unlock higher difficulties, which kinda requires you to know how to attack).
For Science!: What is, presumably, Dr. Osto's motivations for doing many of the things that he did in Episode II.
Game-Favored Gender: Both in different ways. Males tend to have higher physical attack and HP, while females tend to have stronger techniques and defense. There are far more female-specific items than male specific items though.
Gangsta Style: The RAmarl class fires handguns like this. Every other class uses a proper two-handed grip.
Gatling Good: The L&K38 Combat is a man-portable minigun. Uniquely to shot-class weapons, it strikes one target five times in a row.
Guide Dang It: The Tails chao. It requires you to go back the forest after you complete "The Fake In Yellow" quest but before you talk to the receptionist. Then you stand where the rappies are staring at and a chao appears (with Samba de Amigo music playing). You then go back to Pionner 2 and put the chao on your GBA.
It is incredibly easy to miss out on the various subplots contained within the optional quests. Failed to talk to the different people in town? Forgot to check every area before turning in the quest? The choice of whether or not to tell Sue your name at the end of one of the quests automatically locks you into one of two subplots in the current difficulty setting... both of which don't get picked up again until later quests. It's very easy for a new player to assume the choices made in quests don't matter outside them.
Item combinations, rare mags, what Photon Drop are for, getting an SS-rank on Towards the Future... this game just begs for a guide on hand at all times.
Hailfire Peaks: The Caves area changes as the player travels through it from a Lethal Lava Land to a soaking wet tropical cavern to a grassy cavern full of machines. The Ruins area changes from a not-very-ruined Temple of Doom to a mixture of a Temple of Doom and a Womb Level. Central Control of Episode II is a borderline case, putting a jungle, a beach, and a highland (as well as two 10-story-tall towers made for a pair of specific missions) into one collective mission environment, albeit on different parts of Gal de Val Island.
Harder Than Hard: "Ultimate" difficulty, in which enemy speed and spell resistance drastically increases, and several bosses and some mooks gain nasty new tricks.
He Who Must Not Be Seen: Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen. They turn up in the end credits in single player PSO Episode I & II if you complete episode II on Ultimate difficulty. Flowen could be seen through a convoluted method online involving possession of Rico's Red Weapons while fighting Olga Flow, then returning to the site of the battle after winning. The inverse of this using Flowen's weapons to beat Dark Falz apparently let you see Rico.
Hyperspace Arsenal: As with most RPGs' inventory systems, but more obvious in Phantasy Star Online and not readily explained.
Justified by the technology of the time... all items can be compressed into a capsule form. The fact that you have 30 spots for items, no matter the size implies that you can hold 30 fully compressed capsules.
Immune to Flinching: Ultimate Mines holds a nasty surprise, the first time you meet them. The Normal - Very Hard Gilchics are easy to kill because they get knocked down with every hit, allowing even an underleveled player to scratch them to death. In Ultimate, they've been replaced with the Gilchich, which, unlike virtually every other monster in the game, only flinches roughly 20% of the time. The other 80% is often spent pummeling the player through their ineffectual sword strikes.
A lot of the large enemies (Hildebears, Pan Arms, Garanz, Chaos Bringers, and Indi Belras) somewhat follow this trope. Their attacks cannot be interrupted (except for the Belra, but you need to be able to do a LOT of damage to flinch it), although if you manage to hit them when they're not attacking they'll flinch as normal (Pan Arms excepted). Unsurprisingly, each of the aforementioned enemies (once again excepting the Pan Arms) is significantly more difficult than the other mooks you'll face.
Interface Screw: Confusion randomizes controller input directions. While the affected player can attack and combo normally, it'll be in random directions.
Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Olga Flow. Actually a D-Cell-infected Heathcliff Flowen merged with the computer system of the secret laboratory.
Informed Ability: The four blades used by one of the legendary Hunters you meet before they die, Zoke "the Great Sword" Miyama, possesses three of four legendary katanas. These swords were said to have brought ruin to a tyrannical king, and have the power to destroy an entire planet if all four were used together. Of course, you'll never find out if that's true, as you find two of the swords broken and the fourth katana has tons of fake replicas.
Joke Item: Frying pans, parasols, syringes, coins, guitars, magazines... some of which are lethal. Most of the joke items of the Online series mostly referenced other Sega franchises or companies that sponsored events in the game.
Katanas Are Just Better: On paper, Katanas in PSO can outdo many other melee weapons. Also a Rock Beats Laser, as it outdamages laser weapons. However, they are slower and outclassed by weapons that have five or six hit combos, though there is one paired set of katanas that not only has a five hit combo, a health refill special, and is relatively easy to ensure that its Percents are very good. The Tsumikiri J-Sword, while falling into the Sword weapon category instead of the Katana, has the appearance of a giant 6-foot long katana.
Kill It with Ice: Against an opponent that can't be hit repeatedly (such as opposing players or the gelatinous enemies in 1&2's Caves), freezing them will allow you to do just that, making taking them out much faster. As the final dungeon of part 2 proves, however, the enemy can do this to you as well. One enemy is capable of using an attack that, while not hitting very hard, hits about 50 times in a row. Normally, you keep blocking these until one hits, then the rest get grazed over by Mercy Invincibility. However, they are usually accompanied by an enemy capable of freezing you. End result? A level 200 character getting buzzsawed to death in a single blow by a puny Mook on Normal Mode.
Kill Sat: Heaven Punisher. You can achieve the same effect with a Heaven Striker + Striker mag.
Laser Blade: Every common melee weapon, and a goodly number of rare ones either have a full-on photon blade or a photon-edged blade.
Level-Locked Loot: Weaponry is restricted by Attack Power for melee weapons, Accuracy for ranged weapons, and Mental Strength for magic weapons. Each of these stats, however, can be boosted by a specialized MAG or by armor units -both of which have no base requirements. Armor, however, is level locked, meaning that characters being rushed through the lower levels by a gift of overpowered equipment tend to be Glass Cannons.
Limit Break: After your MAG learns a Photon Blast, receiving damage or hitting enemies charges up the Photon Gauge. Once it's full, the player can use the Blast. What's more, other players nearby can either donate some energy to increase the power of the Blast, or fire their own Blast, multiplying the power of both. A four-way chained blast will often shred everything in the room and buff the players far beyond the usual level cap for buff techniques.
Lost Forever: For those versions that can no longer go online since the official servers shut down, all online-only items are now Lost Forever (excluding the use of a cheat device to spawn them)
The Ragol Ring and Kireek's scythe, the Soul Eater, require the player to perform quests in a specific order and give a specific series of answers. If you screw it up, those items are impossible to attain on that character/difficulty level. Worse, the two items require the player to give different answers to the same question, so you can only ever get one on a specific character/difficulty level.
Macross Missile Massacre: The Garanz enemy is a rolling robot tank with a few long-ranged missile launchers. Attacking it breaks off its armor, uncovering a much larger number of missile ports, leading to this.
Mercy Invincibility: Notable, in that this trope is played straight offline, but subverted online. Offline, if you are hit by an enemy, you are immune to further hits for about a second. Online, the only mercy invincibility that occurs is if you are hit with an attack strong enough to knock you down. Players going online for the first time often found themselves overwhelmed by swarms of enemies that they'd have no trouble dealing with offline (being surrounded in offline is an easily-ignored nuisance; in online, it's frequently fatal).
This also had the odd effect of making some enemies far more dangerous in one mode or another. Garanz/Baranz, for instance, fires clouds of missiles at the players, each of which does relatively little damage. Offline, the enemy wasn't that big of a threat, as its only danger occurred if all the missiles struck at the same time (thus negating the Mercy Invincibility). Online, it's arguably the single most dangerous enemy in the game, as the missiles are impossible to dodge or block and will deal enough damage to down even high level characters in a single attack.
Mini-Boss: The Hildebear and Garanz enemies feature more varied attack patterns, higher health, and often appear singly or in pairs instead of mobs. The Central Control Area features a trio of minibosses that need to be killed to unlock the door to the area boss.
Money for Nothing: The shops rarely sell anything useful, and once a character starts finding rare items, most Meseta is spent on recovery items and item identification. The ultimate lategame usage of money often ends up as ammunition for weapons with the Charge special, which do double damage at the cost of 200 Meseta per hit.
More Dakka: Mechguns in Phantasy Star Online. They even became some of the strongest weapons you could use.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Red Ring Rico accidentally unleashes Dark Falz, and dies for it. The players would have caused an even worse case: by defeating Dark Falz over and over again, they only caused him to grow stronger and stronger. Eventually he would have had enough power to completely break free from his bondage in the Ruins and destroy the universe.
One-Hit Kill: The Megid technique either inflicts instant death or does nothing. The final boss in any difficulty other than the easiest has access to it, as well as a number of normal monsters in the hardest.
The Mericarol/Merikle/Mericus enemies all spit one as a ranged attack. Unlike the other instant death spells in the game, this one isn't a dark spell; it just deals 100% HP in damage and is completely unblockable.
Organ Drops: Occasionally a player will come across a seemingly useless body part item, notable only because it happens to be rare. Late in the Hunter's Guild missions, a certain NPC will remark upon being able to craft powerful weapons out of unusual materials. Taking him up on the offer rewards you with equipment ranging from decent to extremely powerful.
Playing Possum: An alert player will notice a few things about Rappies. First, they don't ever drop anything when killed. Second, their corpses remain on the map. Third, they remain on the minimap radar as enemy dots. When your back is turned, Rappies will wake up and make a run for it. With a ranged weapon, trap, or technique, they can be smacked an extra time for a guaranteed item drop.
Power of the God Hand: The God Hand is one of the best Fist weapons (until episode 4, definitely the best).
Pulling Themselves Together: Dubchics act like Gilchics until you blast them apart, at which point they'll pull themselves together and adopt a zombie-like gait. Smashing them four or five more times until they stay dead is an option, but most players prefer to go straight for the hidden Dubswitch which controls all the Dubchics in the room.
Random Drop: Taken to an art style in this game. To understand, there are several dropcharts defined by the character's name (and Class in Blue Burst) with each one specializing in certain weapons and such. There are quite a few weapons with low droprates that are exclusive to a certain dropchart. So...
Rare Random Drop: Enjoy your chances of getting objects easily getting lower than 1/1000.
Reincarnation: Kinda in Episode III. Endu is the reincarnation/"son" of both Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen, created when they forced the essences of Dark Falz and Olga Flow to resonate. They did this to prevent their respective Superpowered Evil Sides from reincarnating over and over and eventually growing beyond all control.
Shmuck Bait: A dead end room, with a single item crate sitting against the far wall. If you're lucky, it'll simply be booby-trapped. If you're unlucky, it'll spawn a pack of monsters in a ring right around you.
Short Range Shotgun: Thoroughly averted. Shotguns in this game lock onto up to five separate targets at medium range. Short range is actually the worst place for a shotgun user, as only one bullet can strike each target.
Shout-Out: A number of weapons and items reference the original games; the Neiclaw, the Falclaw/Rika's Claw, the Elsydeon, and the Prophets of Motav. There's also weapons and items that reference other Sega series; the Opa Opa makes another appearance, for example, this time as a Mag.
It should also be noted that that "A" in the A. Beast monster type stands for "Altered".
Smash Mook: Hildebears in Forest 1 are twelve-foot tall gorilla-esque enemies. Trying to snipe them from afar leads to a painful leaping pound attack, and a beatdown with their massive fists. The one oddball trait is that if lead around in circles for too long, it will get frustrated and spit a ball of fire (or a bolt of lightning in Ultimate).
Sniper Rifle: Rangers, the sole users of Rifle-class weapons (with the exception of certain rare ones) can pick off enemies beyond their AI range.
Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: The standard weapons a character can acquire get progressively stronger as they proceed through the difficulties. The entire algorithm gets made irrelevant, though, should they be lucky enough to acquire a useable rare weapon early. The standard weapons basically aren't worth it any more by the time the most powerful get unlocked, as the player will almost definitely have a stronger rare version of the weapon. The sole exception lies in weapons with powerful special abilities, such as the Hell prefix. Rare weapons have fixed special abilities, and often not the most powerful versions of those abilities either.
Stat Sticks: Force weapons aren't exactly effective. Forces use them for the small MST boost, TP-saving or -stealing special attacks, technique power boosts, or for opening crates.
Stripperiffic: Justified, as the primary form of armor in the setting is mounted in a unit on the wearer's wrist. It projects a protective field significantly more effective than any physical armour could be against most threats, and while some do still wear conventional armor as well, many more prefer to wear normal clothing. Indeed, it seems very much as if the cultural reaction to having armour that functions fine with any clothing, and can be worn by anyone without getting in the way of everyday tasks, was for acceptable fashion to grow ever skimpier.
Summon Magic: Upon hitting level 10, 35, and 50, MAGs learn a Photon Blast, a powerful summon technique that does damage, heals, or buffs you based on your MAG's IQ.
Tactical Door Use: Oddly enough, enemies can't pass through doors open or closed. The player similarly cannot shoot through open doorways. This leads to the common tactic of 'doorway sniping', where an underleveled character equips a ranged weapon, walks through the doorway, pops off a few free shots, and retreats back to the hallway.
Taking You with Me: Poison Lilies will count down and detonate into a poison spray when they're low on health. The Ultimate Ob Lilies replace this with an instant death spray.
Tears from a Stone: If you played as Lura, the RAcaseal who wishes she were more human so she could be closer to Break, for the majority of the Arkz story missions in Episode 3, you'll get a cut scene before the final boss fights where she discovers that she's housing the soul of Break's former lover and Sil'fer's sister inside her body, and she sheds tears. Lura herself is surprised that she's crying tears, despite being a machine.
Three Strike Combo: Almost uniquely for a hack-and-slash RPG, and fairly in-depth at that. Each weapon type has its own specific timing for a three-attack combo, with the addition of having the choice of weak-but-accurate attacks, strong-but-inaccurate attacks, and inaccurate special attacks that could trigger special weapon abilities. In addition to that, each class/race/gender combo had its own variations on the animations that made certain weapon types better for some classes. To cap it all off, some enemies react oddly to combos, and need either a delayed or increased speed combo to be executed safely.
Took a Level in Badass: Remember Ash, the Hunter you rescue in the very first mission of Ep. 1? The one who apparently got the silly smacked out of him by Rag Rappies? In the very last mission, he turns up in the Ruins, tearing the place up with a double-saber. Good to see he kept his promise.
Underground Monkey: A number enemies have more than one variant of themselves, distinguishable only by slight physical differences and a Palette Swap; there are also Ultimate versions of most enemies, which look substantially different. Certain enemies from one location will also have the same behavior as those from another areas; Boomas, Evil Sharks, and Dimenians all act very similarly (and have similar body shapes).
Unidentified Items: All rare weapons dropped by monsters appear as "?SPECIAL WEAPON". They can still be equipped in this state (which lets the player identify the weapon type, based on whether their character can even equip it), but its special abilities won't be available until taken to a Tekker for proper identification.
Updated Re-release: Several of them. Ver.2, Episode I & II Plus and Blue Burst are the ones that are on the same platform as a previous version, while the original Episode I & II was the first version released on consoles besides the Dreamcast.
Useless Useful Spell: Megid, an extremely high-costed single hit spell that might kill the enemy. However, either get the right items or play a FOnewearl, and it'll penetrate.
Variable Mix: Done very well, but notably absent in its sequel, Universe.
Vicious Cycle: In an interesting take on the fact that multiple parties will fight and defeat the "final boss" over and over again, Episode III reveals that Dark Falz and Olga Flow really are being defeated over and over again, and each time they die they reincarnate stronger than ever, ready for the next party to come along. This would have continued until they became unstoppable and broke free of their respective bonds; that is, until the combined efforts of Red Ring Rico and Heathcliff Flowen break the cycle sometime between Episodes 2 & 3..
Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The Flame Visit and the Burning Visit. On paper, they're fairly strong Ranger weapons of one of the most useful class. However, they lack the trait that makes that class useful (hitting multiple enemies) but retain most of its weaknesses (slow as death firing animation) making them essentially worthless. The upgraded Burning Visit does have a few very, very specific uses, but they're both essentially worthless.
Was Once a Man: Part of Rico's human body can still be seen as fused into Dark Falz's first two forms, horribly mutated and writhing in pain. You can still see Rico's red ring on one of the arms if you look closely. As for Flowen, we get an idea of what happened to him thanks to Episode 2'sApocalyptic Logs. One tidbit of Nightmare Fuel: We learn that the mutation begins as the wounds inflicted on Flowen by Dark Falz's infant form shift and change shape ...
Womb Level: The third section of the Ruins in Episode I.
Wutai: Not visitable in any game of the series, but there is at least one country on Coral that is this, as evidenced by Zoke Miyama, his servant Shino, and the legendary katana rare weapons.
You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: One reason why higher defense is seen as bad for many players, until it hits "reduce damage to zero" status. If you happen to have just enough defense to not get knocked down, but still take major damage from attacks, enemy mobs can easily rip your character to shreds if you get surrounded.
Zettai Ryouiki: HUnewearl and FOnewearl characters can come equipped with this in most of their outfits.