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  • Abridged Arena Array:
    • If you've played Phantasy Star Online, you may recall the infamous "Towards the Future" Boss Rush Quest. This game has "A World Engulfed in Shadows", which is basically its version of "Towards the Future" and, outside of Bonus Keys and Advance Quests, is commonly considered the only acceptable place to level grind until Ultra Hard difficulty due to containing no less than fourteen boss monsters, all of whom are laughably weak on Super Hard difficulty and have a permanent EXP buff applied. Granted, you have to get to Lv40 to even attempt this quest in the first place, but once you do it's relatively smooth sailing.
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    • Good luck trying to find anyone farming Excube and Catalyst fodder anywhere other than Cradle of Darkness after the April 2021 update.
  • Acceptable Targets: During the hacking attacks in the first months of official service, some Japanese players were quick to blame western players, many clambering for an IP block of all players from outside of Japan. However, other Japanese players pushed back against this idea.
  • Accidental Innuendo: In the boss battle against Dark Falz Apprentice Zia, the final phase has her reveal a protruding, throbbing red rod that unleashes a powerful laser that will One-Hit Kill any tower it sweeps through if it's not stopped. It also comes from the center of the lower half of its body. Cleaned up in the Omega version of the Apprentice fight, as it's revealed that the rod comes from the middle of its body, as in the Oracle dimension, half of her power had been sealed away by Matoi.
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  • Adorkable: Despite how edgy he tries to act, some fans find short, grumpy Kyokuya to be endearingly silly.
  • Alt Itis: Alt characters enjoy access to their own 300-slot Character Storage box as well as access to Weekly ARKS Missions and other Client Orders that are on a per-character basis; in addition, each character on the account receives their own free MAG as well as All Skill Tree Reset Passes whenever they're distributed, among other benefits. Finding a player who doesn't have an alt, much less used at least all three free slots, is extremely rare.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: In Japan, Matoi, Risa and Gene are among the most popular characters in the game. Outside of Japan, Matoi verges on a Base-Breaking Character and Gene isn't given much of a thought other than people disliking her for being an egregious Ms. Fanservice; only Risa is liked outside of Japan as well, though with the North American release there are some who don't care for the high-pitched nature of her voice being faithful to the Japanese version.
  • Ass Pull:
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    • EPISODE 3 has a specific cutscene where the idea that Photon wielders are Friendly Fireproof is suddenly introduced as an out to a Hostage Situation and to resolve a critical plot point for Afin's subplot. This is despite the fact that literally everything else in the franchise points to no such mechanic existing for Photon wielders, as ARKS fighting other ARKS and dealing actual damage to each other is a real and persistent thing.
    • Sukunahime's Wrong Context Magic being exactly the kind of trump card the heroes need to defeat Shiva seems oddly convenient given the timing of this revelation and how quickly the plot accelerates to the end after having explained this. While this could be explained away as the game not previously going into detail about the exact full extent of their powers, it still has a bit of a Deus ex Machina feel to it.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The item-based structure of the Matter Board gave the player free, sustainable gear as they progressed the game's plot, but it was little more than padding for players who had already obtained superior gear, save for the later Boards' rewards (i.e. consumables, Photon Spheres/Boosters, Affixing fodder, and ultra-rare exclusive weapons.) This was remedied with the introduction of the Story Board, which excises the Matter Board's original mechanics and is simply a branching cutscene map that simply lets you access every Story cutscene and Quest from a single hub, expediting the process while still gifting the player reasonable rewards simply for watching cutscenes, including the rare Star Gems.
      • They also attempted to relieve the situation in an earlier state by both revising every single Board's drop tables, exponentially increasing the drop rate for Matter Board drops, and allowing players to outright skip the first two Episodes, and granting access to a plot summary and every single cutscene from Episodes 1 and 2 to catch players up on the story. Whether this actually made the Matter Board more bearable is debatable.
    • New-Type was positively received worldwide for making the grind system require almost zero luck. NT weapons are fed other weapons to make them stronger; while this requires gathering fodder to be used to strengthen your weapon, it no longer requires praying to the Random Number God and hoping Dudu/Monica doesn't drop your Grind Level by six stages. To top it off, the only luck involved is a slight chance for an even better upgrade (that can be boosted with certain items.)
    • The fact that Collection Files are time-locked and expire once its time limit is passed is something of a Scrappy Mechanic. SEGA responded in turn by easing File requirements, lengthening their duration (outside of Seasonal UQs), and encoring Files. The most notable of the latter is Revolucio 2, an encore of the first Collect Files, which is set to expire March 3rd, 2018, over a year after their introduction. This is possibly done to assist players in getting the Title required to advance to Level 80, which requires getting a 13★ NT weapon to +35, something that isn't easily done with random drops when Collect Files expire.
    • Ever since release, Mesetan Shooter has been the least-liked Casino game due to the fact that it's so hard to make a profit that if you go into it solo, you'll more often than not lose money playing it, and the only way to turn a solid earning is to play with friends, which many people don't want to do. This was changed completely with the March 2017 Battle Arena update, which included an overhaul that makes Mesetan Shooter much easier to the point where you can reliably turn a profit almost all the time if you're halfway decent at it.
    • The EPISODE 5 Chapter 1 update added Story versions of Buster Quest, which were required to progress the story. It was... poorly received, to say the least. The following week, the Story format was changed so that at certain points, the story could be continued without having to play the Story Buster Quest, and a later update in October 2017 enabled starting Buster Quest by yourself, allowing players to continue the story solo.
    • Following sentiments from the playerbase concerning Hero, many of the subsequent EPISODE 5 updates have been spent buffing older classes to put them in competition with Hero in an attempt to Win Back the Crowd. Whether this has worked or not depends on who you ask, but many agree that, ignoring Hero, many of the updates are welcome QoL improvements to the older classes.
    • The Western localization announcement in 2019, putting an end to seven years of complaints from Western players about SEGA failing to live up to their promise of a localization back in 2012.
    • When ARKS Missions were introduced, the long-running Bingo mechanic was scrapped in favor of Event ARKS Missions. While ARKS Missions are mechanically more streamlined than Bingo, some players did not like this since the new ARKS Missions lacked Star Gems, a mainstay on Bingo Cards that made farming for mass amounts of SG easy. The Christmas 2019 event put Bingo back in as a result.
    • The release of the Steam version of the English release, alongside opening up access to 33 more countries, allowing more people to play and also decoupling the game from the problems caused the Windows Store. It helps that to make it up for the wait, the Steam version comes with a full set of Valve-themed cosmetics, including Gordon Freeman's HEV Suit and crowbar, Alyx's outfit and hairstyle, the Pyro's gasmask, the Heavy's minigun, a Wheatley Mag evo device, and a frying pan.
    • While this is not the case for actual Play Station Vita players in Japan, the shutdown of the Vita access to the game's servers in 2020 coincided with Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis prepping to bring a graphics and engine update to the whole of PSO2 to bring it up to a more modern standard, something that simply wasn't possible when the Vita hardware was chugging badly on the lobbies as is. Fans took it as the game no longer being tethered to a handheld's bottom-tier graphical requirements, and the Nintendo Switch streaming version of the game utterly beats out the Vita port in the end anyway while being a far more popular portable system.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Matoi as a character tends to be a point of contention among the English players (and this overlaps with Americans Hate Tingle). Fans of her like her personality and the way the game handles her character development into someone with deep ties to the player. Detractors dislike the often needlessly Stripperific costumes she gets and feel like her status as the heroine is extremely forced.
    • Gene, outside of Japan. She's either hated because she's Ms. Fanservice, or liked because she's Ms. Fanservice. Her voice is also either considered cute or obnoxiously high pitched. Her story is almost never taken into consideration due to being in a spin-off and Play the Game, Skip the Story.
    • Shiva eventually developed this reputation, the main point of contention being that she lacks any substance as a character and is consistently portrayed as being insanely overpowered due to possessing a Story-Breaker Power. Detractors dislike her for essentially being a walking plot device and being blandly written compared to the likes of Luther, while supporters point out that her Generic Doomsday Villain agenda falls in line with the Profound Darkness's own motivation (or rather, lack thereof) and enjoy the heroes having a challenge for once.
    • In the North American version, many people have complained about Risa's voice being too high pitched, leading them to skip her cutscenes outright.
      • Likewise with Afin. You are either annoyed with his Britsralian accent, or are unbothered by it.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • Big Varder is a Colossus Climb atop a huge land-based warship armed to the teeth with defense turrets and missiles that hosts a Humongous Mecha torso at the top level with destructible parts that don't just stun the boss, but actually strategically disable its defenses. It's also got Awesome Music. Fan reception to this boss had been overwhelmingly positive.
    • It got even better. SEGA had really outdone themselves with Dark Falz Elder. Imagine a planet-sized, eight-armed Eldritch Abomination that sends massive amounts of its own hands at you while firing meteors and lasers at you from afar. After enough hands are destroyed, the (noticeably shrunken) Elder comes at you with everything a darkness-empowered tower of arms could have in its arsenal. All of this is done to Awesome Music.
    • Bar Lodos, the Coast boss, was well-received by the playerbase. Partly because it's similar to De Rol Le, partly because the fight itself is really damn fun, and partly because it's tied to a lucrative Daily Order that pays upwards 250,000 meseta.
    • Dark Falz Luther competes for the title. In a stark contrast to Elder, who was eventually just plain outclassed by all the new player content, Loser was legitimately challenging with numerous and less predictable attack patterns, a massive HP pool with less weak points than his predecessornote , and he hits like a truck with several attacks able to kill you outright. Once again, this is done to Awesome Music, though this time it sounds less "heroic" and puts more emphasis on how screwed you are. He has also become popluar in the North American version for his hammy voice lines.
    • Another contender for the title came in December 2014 in the form of Magatsu, a gargantuan Harukotanian god boss who takes after Buddhist and Hindu gods in terms of design (to the point where his Palette Swap is pure gold in color), with its own dedicated Urgent Quest where players must stop the massive monster from making its way into a Daybreak city, leaping between rooftops and taking advantage of binding arrow ballistae to fell the foul creature. It's about as close as you can get to acting out Attack on Titan in the game!
    • Then came the Profound Darkness, a boss so awesome it requires not just your party of 12, but an army of ARKS just to fight him! You first fight Falz Gemini, after which the battlefield crumbles under you and you board an ARKS ship, which sends you into the Core of the Profound Darkness. Then you fight the cocoon form, which then unfurls into it's true form. Then, near the end of the fight, you end up fighting the Profound Darkness as a copy of yourself.
      • The advanced version introduced in the Late June 2016 update takes it a step further by transforming it from an Anti-Climax Boss into That One Boss, granting it a resistance to Ice and nerfing its Light weakness, cranking its aggressiveness Up to Eleven, adding extremely powerful attacks that can hit for 1200+ damage (which will One-Hit Kill most players), and radically adjusting its pattern and strategy to reduce its vulnerabilities and make it a far more offensive threat.
    • Train Ghidoran was well-received by the playerbase for being absurdly awesome, as well as possessing a rather unique concept and battle style.
    • Nemesangele, a super badass humanoid Humongous Mecha with Laser Blade arms that you challenge with a fleet of souped up Mini-Mecha while Autobots, Rock Out! blares in the background.
    • The True Final Boss of Episode 6, the Primordial Darkness. Not only is it a hectic pair of battle phases that echo the old Falz fights of Phantasy Star Online massively cranked Up to Eleven, but it culminates in a one-on-one duel to the death that ends with everything the whole story built up to coming together to top the game off. The raid version goes even further, having Matoi, Harriet and Hitsugi assist in the exclusive third form as the Primordial Darkness goes into full desperate Villainous Breakdown and throws whatever it has left at you.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Mining Base: Despair. If you thought the first two iterations were frantic fun, Despair turns the Zerg Rush chaos Up to Eleven with three words: ARKS Interception Silhouette. Being able to wreak massive carnage and slice through bosses like butter in one of those bad boys is absolutely cathartic.
    • Better still: The Chant to Cleanse the Calamity. AIS vs. Magatsu! Oh yeah, your AIS is also souped up with boosters, so you can take your mecha combat to the skies.
    • "Armada of Annihilation" is a three-stage Emergency Quest set in an epic Space Battle where ARKS face off against a fleet of villainous Photoners and Luminmechs. Sector 1 tasks players with fighting off the Photoner forces attacking an ARKS ship, while Sector 2 is a Battleship Raid against a Photoner ship. There are two different stages that Sector 3 can take the form of: either a large-scale A.I.S. battle against the Humongous Mecha Nemesangele, or a strike at the very heart of the Photoner fleet and a battle with Dimolduminus. Either way, the boss theme "Battle Stars" brings helps to solidify this as one of the best and most warmly received EQ/s in the series' history, and a major Win Back the Crowd moment after the missteps in Episodes 4 and 5.
  • Broken Base:
    • The US release has two camps: Those who vehemently believe Sega of America will release it, and those who find the very idea of a US release a laughable lie. Also regarding the US release, there are those who believe it is a good idea for Sega to release it, and those who were burned by the subpar localization of Phantasy Star Universe who would rather the US release should just die. Many in the latter camps have changed their tune following the announcement of the game's release in 2020 at E3 2019, along with the promise that all of the content in the Japanese version would be brought over. When the release happened however, there was a continuous series of problems with it that many fans had such as the height sliders being altered to make it so your character can't be much shorter than the shortest NPCs (in spite of Auxiliaries remaining short) and the botched PC release which no thanks to the Microsoft store exclusivity, caused a large amounts of problems related to permissions issues in the app folders,note  causing many to simply completely give up on the game. This was not helped by the fact that many fans were already demanding a Steam release. The localization itself was largely unfinished, even after the beta to the point that some of the Urgent Quest announcements were mostly in Japanese.
    • The clothing customization options are quite obviously skewed towards Non-CAST Females, in varying amounts of coverage. Players are either fine because they're within that group, or not fine because they're out of it and just want something to fill the drought of male and CAST customization. There's also the third camp for female characters that want more modest clothing because they're annoyed by the excessive amounts of Stripperific clothing.
    • No one expected the English dub to keep the "high pitched anime girl" voices intact, much to the annoyance of some players, leading some to considering reoccurring characters such as Pati and even Risa to be The Scrappy.
    • The North American version having an arbitrary limit on minimum character height (can't make characters as small as in the Japanese version) was met with equal parts warm and cold reception. Those who want the restriction removed have had many arguments posted for it, one of the biggest being that the change falls under false advertising as the change was to a major feature of the game that wasn't communicated at all. Those who are in favor of the restriction argue that they don't want to see "sexualized children". The developers meanwhile have made no statement about the change at all, perhaps hoping the subject would die down, but it has been a hotly debated topic from XBox launch to the present day.
    • While the anti-censorship crowd was notably unconcerned about Al wearing a basewear in his initial appearance in the global version instead of being nude, they were absolutely livid about a bath scene where Kohri and Hitsugi try to help Al acclimate to Japanese society via public bathing, where a clueless Al didn't know why he was being washed before he had to go into the bath, with Kohri and Hitsugi having such a casual attitude over it while simultaneously making sure Al couldn't see them naked, along with a accidental boob grab Played for Laughs, in spite of the audio remaining in the game data. Not much discussion was made on the more contentious parts of the scene being easily cut however.
    • The discussion of whether or not mods should ban people for posting pornographic symbol art was very divisive, with some people on both sides citing both the Xbox user agreements and parts of the law to try to further their points. The thread was ultimately deleted by a moderator due to the discussion getting out of hand.
    • The concept of starting much farther back than the Japanese version and then catching up on a significantly accelerated release schedulenote . While some players see this as an attempt by SEGA to prevent new players from feeling extremely overwhelmed and give them time to acclimate to the game's content and pace, others point out that most of the content suffers from Power Creep due to NA's decision to retain almost all of the balance updates from the current Japanese version, and thus it's far too easy to suffer from burnout due to a severe lack of challenging endgame content.
    • The October 10th (2012) update's attempt to "fix" the game's economy by making Vendor Trash sell for much less to vendors. This update intended to keep rare weapons rarer by making meseta farming less effective. However, they decided to save adjusting the price of weapon grinding for later. In addition, the 10-star rare items and level 11+ photon art discs were completely untradable. Depending on the player, this was either a great way to make rare weapons feel more special or an unnecessary hassle for newer players (Or ones without Personal Shop access) to cover the costs of healing items and grinding weapons. Even after the grinding prices were halved (or something to that effect, the exact cut in prices are hard to determine), upgrading weapons could still be very difficult.
    • The costume Luna Prophecy is a small example, and has become an incredibly polarizing outfit by just existing. Some players love the sexy "armor", other players are disgusted with it because of that very reason. It doesn't help the males' counterpart, the Sol Protector, is covered up properly and looks like real armor.
    • To this day, Summoner remains the black sheep of PSO2. Fans of the class enjoy the alternative approach to combat, its comparatively simplistic gearing curve, and comparative ease of use without removing inherent skill or knowledge needed to play the class well. Detractors hate how different the class is from conventional Phantasy Star gameplay and the overwhelming management mechanics, as well as the overabundance of Egg drops cluttering drop pools (until EP6 fixed this, at least).
    • The move of banning players using OverParsenote  has split the players cleanly into three: players who are upset because they used OverParse to improve their gameplay, players who are happy to see it gone because it made hating on weak players even stronger than before by showing their low damage output, creating a negative effect on the playerbase, and those who simply don't care.
    • The release version of Deus ESC-A Zephyros horribly split the playerbase in regards to the final phase. The final phase made Zephyros That One Boss because 30,000,000 HP in 5 minutes was an incredibly steep hill to climb for a good chunk of players, and according to statistics, the clear rate in Expert Blocks was four times higher than that of normal blocks on Extra Hard difficulty. Players who approved looked at it as a way to finally introduce a degree of difficulty after a long period of It's Easy, So It Sucks! and considered it a way to force weaker players to improve, while others were incredibly frustrated at the fact that if your MPA is too incompetent, the entire run can be wasted, and considering the Emergency Quest system, you can lose your shot at rewards entirely if you time out the EQ before you clear. The latter players happened to be vocal enough that the final phase was nerfed down to 20,000,000 HP, so it is now reasonably manageable by a much greater amount of players. This, unfortunately, upset the former players, as they perceived it as SEGA pandering to the Vocal Minority and dumbing down content to be "more accessible".
    • The removal of Matter Board in favor of Omnibus. While most agree that Omnibus format is objectively better mechanics-wise, some players liked how the Matter Board was integrated into the plot while seeing Omnibus as quite generic. Another point of contention was that many existing Quests were stripped down of both playable segments and optional content (including nearly all of the Story Branching). Some players like the streamlined approach to the story, while others feel as though the story got turned into a cutscene-laden snoozefest with a few playable portions in between.
    • The announcement of Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, which is for all intents and purposes a direct sequel as well as a Soft Reboot, set the community on a massive split between those wanting to play both games, those that wanted to move onto New Genesis as well as those simply wanting to stick to what they've been playing for so long, and some effectively abandoning them altogether for considering everything they've been doing to be rendered moot. It doesn't help that SEGA is rather vague about whether the vast array of player cosmetics will carry between games given the back-and-forth transferable character system, causing some to believe that New Genesis is essentially putting its predecessor in the grave and throwing out all the cosmetics people paid for. Thankfully, the announcement that it was more of a new game mode with its own progression rather than an entirely new game helped curb some people's anger.
    • The increasing amounts of censorship in the global release has become a point of contention. Things like the Slave weapons as a biblical reference were changed to Raven, the custom character height slider was capped to prevent making characters that looked too young, characters like Hitsugi and Al were hit with censored scenes or outfits (including outright removal in Hitsugi's Furo Scene cases) due to being underage and other various minor alterations. Some hold it as necessary for international standards and vastly different connotations for things like the Slave situation (which led to things like the rifle in the set being called the "Slave Shooter"), while others are intensely peeved that Sega neglects fixing up their localization in favor of emphasizing these changes, and that in fact players are not getting the same experience as in Japan. Things like the Smart Innerwear removal also don't help, as there's bikinis and certain specific Stripperific outfits that come dangerously close to how little it covered anyway.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • The Light element is overwhelmingly popular on weapons due to the game's emphasis on raid boss content and the fact that the vast majority of relevant raid bosses are Light weak (except Erythron Dragon/Dragon Atrum). Eventually, handout weapons like those you can purchase from trade shops and Collect File weapons started giving out Light weapons by default, and by July 2018 the Attribute Changer support item was phased out of normal AC Scratches completely because the devs realized that this trope was exactly what was driving up the cost of Light-element Attribute Changers.
    • There are exactly two Photon Blasts that are considered not useless: Cetus Proi (greatly accelerates PP regen) and Julius Nifta (summons an orb with an extremely powerful vacuum effect). Every other Photon Blast almost never sees use beyond casual play.
    • Some classes are considered to have only one viable Subclass. For a pre-EPISODE 6 example, Fighter was almost always paired with Hunter. As for post-EPISODE 6, pairing Summoner with anything other than Phantom is recommended only for new players leveling their first two classes (before swapping their subclass to Phantom and never looking back).
    • Before EP6, you'd probably get looked at funny if you ran Force with any Subclass that isn't Techer or Fighter. The former beefs up your other elements and immensely bolsters your PP regeneration, while the latter eschews sustainability and survivability for sheer raw power. Force's choices in subs opened up with EP6, as both Phantom sub and Etoile sub are highly desirable (albeit for differing reasons).
    • Mags are set up one way and one way only: +200 of the main attacking stat of the class you are using. Considering how there are four possible main stats in the game, the solution when playing a different class is to spend real money and buy more Mags or do massive recalibration using Photon Spheres and Ex-Cubes (As well as time) if one doesn't wish to spend AC on Mag Passes. This and the immediate previous point means use of a Braver or Bouncer subclass note  is asking for derision.
    • On the other hand, Hunter had a long reign as the "universal Subclass" for melee and (occasionally) ranged classes. While Ranger/Hunter and Gunner/Hunter weren't especially pervasive, the majority of people playing melee classes used a Hunter subclass. Its hold weakened when Etoile debuted as a subclass.
    • Lavis Cannon was originally considered the Wand Infinity +1 Sword due to its unique Potential that makes it 33% faster, removes hitstop, and adds a powerful Sword Beam that has a unique interaction with Heavy Hammer. A 2018 update rebalanced Wands to close the gap between Lavis and the other Wands, putting Atlas Ex in a better position than Lavis. Lavis later got an Ultimate Potential to close that gap, making it a cheaper alternative to Atlas Ex that requires less commitment resource-wise.
    • Phantom's Rod Photon Arts are commonly considered vastly inferior to its Technique ability, to the point where some players consider PH Rod to be a glorified casting class. While the PAs do decent damage and help with Marker generation, many of them don't offer the utility and flexibility of Techniques, and some are considered straight useless in actual combat (see:Shift Ruf Konzert, Eisen Fluegel). On the Technique side, in addition to the high TEC Power bestowed by Rods, Phantoms also have access to the Sprint Tech Charge (move at run speed while charging Techs), Stealth Tech Charge (become invulnerable for a while upon charging a Tech), Tech Short Charge (Techs consume less PP and charge faster but deal less damage), and Ambivalence (gain Marker with Techs) Skills, making Techniques extremely safe, easy to spam, and crazy powerful. The end result is that outside of Voelkermord, most high-level Phantom players will almost exclusively use Techniques and never attempt to incorporate Rod PAs into their gameplay.
    • Phantom Katana is basically Folterzeit x2 -> Normal Attack. No point in using any other PA, though it will drain your PP. The relative lack of Ao E relegates this weapon to bossing as well.
    • The Wand is easily the most common weapon seen on Etoiles, and for good reason: it's the most balanced of the three weapons, with a unique weapon mechanic that gives it both bossing and mobbing tools, doles out massive burst damage with superior coverage, grants an astounding amount of mobility, has the most gratuitous Just Guard Weapon Action in the game with a literal Deflector Shield, and has practically all the tools needed to always stay on the offensive. Dual Blades are also similarly popular, but almost exclusively as a bossing tool.
    • For better or worse, Jet Boots suffers from a similar problem to Lavis Cannon in EP6 in the form of the Serpen Plenzer Jet Boots. Serpen's effect upgrades the powerful but slow and short-ranged Jetsweep Kick into an insanely fast with huge range Jetsweep Kick with no additional downsides. Combined with its solid stats and multipliers, there is basically no reason whatsoever to run any other Jet Boots. Even weapons with superior damage numbers struggle to compete with the sheer DPS upgrade wearing Serpen gives.
    • Summoner tunnel visions on Rykros Staff pretty hard. With its effect, being in Alter Ego not only automatically fulfills Sympathy requests, thereby saving time and PP, but also causes you to shoot mini-Megids with almost any Pet PA you use; with its Redux Potential, each mini-Megid has a base power notation of 2500%. Pair it with Synchro, the fastest and hardest hitting of all Pets in Summoner's arsenal, and watch bosses fall to pieces before your might.
  • Contested Sequel: While the game is recognized for having very high points among the franchise, including a refined action gameplay system that is considered unique among MMOs and the best gameplay in the entire series, incredibly robust character creation system, a soundtrack that lives up to SEGA's standards, and incredibly generous Microtransaction system, the game has often been criticized for its weak story, questionable (and sometimes bizarre) balancing decisions, content (or lack thereof), and general lack of direction in later Episodes and incredibly experimental Genre Shifts.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Luda Sorcerers. High health, high damage, wide attack range, and frequent abusers of Teleport Spam.
    • A lot of Nightfallers, to non-Bouncers, at least. Over half of them have weak points that are either difficult to reach without playing Ranged/Tech/Bouncer or are simply inconvenient/time-consuming to access. That particular half also happen to be the "damage dealers" of the lot, and can be pretty tanky if you aren't striking its weakpoint... which loops back into the first problem.
    • The Tainted. Absurd amounts of health ensure that they do not go down quickly, they come in swarms most of the time, and they are both highly aggressive and extremely powerful, which will tear through the thickest defenses like a hot knife through butter. Learn to abuse invincibility frames and Megiverse if you don't want to get melted. They became more manageable when Episode 5 rolled around, but only because of the level gap and new equipment working in the player's benefit instead, and they still hit hard regardless.
    • Infected Gateway Ships. Their chainguns will rip apart most reckless characters in record time, and their missiles can be aggravating at best, death at worst. In Mining Base, you have AIS to deal with them, but in Falspawn Den, cover is few and far between, and taking it down normally is not worth it, forcing you to find the crystal that will destroy it gated behind waves upon waves of Falspawn. Hope you have a Bouncer in your group!
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Prior to Omnibus, EP2-5 was one of the biggest jumps in difficulty in the entire Story due to the Quest swarming the player constantly with high level enemies and several back-to-back bosses that were surprisingly challenging. Omnibus reworked the level caps to be consistent across Episodes, removing this effect.
    • Omnibus 3-EX is pretty notorious, especially in the North American version. Unlike any Story Quest before it, it stops using Level Scaling and makes all enemies Level 80, giving them massively inflated stats compared to prior excursions. This is in tandem with both the chapter itself being a That One Level and the (nerfed) Mining Base Defense Operations: Ending raid after it being similarly challenging if you can't pilot the A.I.S. well.
    • EPISODE 6 Chapter 3-2. The boss fight is Shiva, who is appropriately difficult for their in-story power level.
    • Amusingly, Fiend Phaleg in the Global version. Prior to the release of Global, Phaleg got a retool that heavily buffed her to be competitive with EPISODE 6 power creep. When Global pushed out EPISODE 4 in August-September 2020, they got EP6 Phaleg and not the weaker, pre-buff variant, a stark contrast to pretty much all of the other content in the game. Global getting content not designed for their gear level came as a huge shock and forced many players to reconsider their approach to defeating her.
  • Dork Age:
    • EPISODE 4 is oftentimes considered one. While it is praised for expanding the gameplay with new Photon Arts Customization and general improvements to mechanics and aesthetic, the expansion introduced an extremely sudden Genre Shift and somewhat skimped on content compared to previous expansions, including only two new Free Fields that are not particularly well liked and only two new ARKS Quests. The actual game balance is also somewhat suspect, as some classes got even further ahead while already being good while others were clearly falling behind.
    • The first five months of EPISODE 5 are considered to be one of the worst periods for the game. Not only did it introduce another Genre Shift that bore resemblance to the “isekai" genrenote , but the expansion threw out all forms of traditional content expansion in favor of introducing a single new gameplay mode that was expected to be the standard for the entire Episode with regular updates. Every class in the game was re-balanced and overall nerfed come launch, except the new class, Hero, completely obsoleted every other class in the game, making it seem like the nine standard classes were nerfed in order to make Hero even better. Thankfully, in early 2018, Sega listened to the negative feedback and announced that they had reworked most of their plans for the remainder of the Episode through early 2019, which resulted in the reception to later-release content and the then-upcoming EPISODE 6 reveal was much more positive.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: There have been multiple polls for players' favorite characters. Most of the characters below have won said polls:
    • For the gals:
      • Risa's borderline psychotic personality is commonly seen as endearing to players. Risa has been so consistently popular that EPISODE 6 made her an Ascended Extra, bumping her up to main character status due to Sharing a Body with the EPISODE 5 heroine.
      • While not as popular as other main female characters such as Matoi, Io, or Risa, Franca is popular with fans due to being an abundant source of Easy EXP. She eventually hit Ascended Extra status when Franka's Cafe was introduced.
      • Phaleg is one of the better written characters in EPISODE 4, being on a power tier potentially beyond the player, having a sexy design, and essentially being the Big Good for the Episode.
      • Mother, one of the 2017 poll's winners, gets points for being a rare sympathetic Anti-Villain in the series.
      • Hero Class Trainer Stratos quickly ascended to the ranks of one of the most beloved characters, combining both the eccentricity of her mentor, Huey, and Token Mini-Moe and Cute Bruiser qualities into one.
    • For the guys:
      • While Huey's Hot-Blooded hamminess isn't always appreciated in-universe, the players certainly enjoy it.
      • Clotho is well-liked for providing players with some of the most lucrative Client Orders in the game, all of which provide a healthy amount of meseta. This unfortunately changed in the Episode 6 update when his client orders were nerfed.
      • Luther is one of the most popular male characters (enough that he's likely the most common character for players to dress a male Newman up as) due to his dashing looks and his composed yet supremely egotistical mannerisms (though he mellowed out considerably in EPISODE 3.) Not only did he get a chapter of EPISODE 5 that further explored his character, but his popularity made him playable in IDOLA: Phantasy Star Saga despite lacking direct ties to the story.
      • Aratron actually won the Male side of the 2017 Character General Election. Granted, his Moment of Awesome in Chapter 7 does help push things along for him.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • People seem to think Apprentice, Phaleg, and Kohri qualify. Although Phaleg and Kohri don't apply after the former reveals her true allegiance and the latter is rescued from Brainwashed and Crazy status.
    • Shiva is considered as such, which is largely attributed to her rather seductive voice acting.
  • Fanon: Because there's no given reason to doubt its canonicity, the EPISODE 0 manga is thought by fans to be the original timeline, before the time loops occur and before the player gets tangled up in the events of the story.
  • Fountain of Memes: Luther is easily the most quotable character in the game. "ZENCHI" (meaning "omniscience") and "YOU PIECE OF ARKS TRASH!" are very popular phrases among fans.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Attack on Titan. Certainly doesn't hurt that PSO2 did cross-promotion with the series, as well as the boss fight against Magatsu taking inspiration from the manga.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • For a time, the Katana Photon Art Shunka Shunran murdered the game balance in its sleep and threw its corpse out the second story; its release lead to a massive spike in Braver popularity due to how utterly broken it was. It received a series of nerfs in response throughout the following months, although it remains a decent damage dealing tool and the most efficient (in terms of damage-to-cost ratio) Katana Art.
    • Due to SEA version's busted damage system and early rebalancing, Sakura Endo on launch was essentially Shunka before Shunka was a thing, thanks to extremely quick execution and insane damage that could give alpha Shunka in JP a run for its money.
    • While not as bad as the Shunka fiasco, Guren Tessen is an extremely powerful, all-purpose Art that has high DPS, low cost, blistering speed, an astonishingly strong final hit that has absurd Hitbox Dissonance-grade range, and can be easily spammed until you run out of PP. It's so omnipresent in the Braver meta that a common joke is that Katana only needs Guren to be played well. It got even worse after the 3-button update, which buffs Guren in the sense that it can now be combined with other Katana Arts for maximum damage. For the record, in terms of DPS, it rivaled Sakura Endo, which is meant to be a super-strong single target attack that has lackluster range, cost, and execution speed, but has very high damage output compared to other attacks. While it has since been dethroned by Sakura Endo Type-0 (which, ironically, looks like a stationary Guren Tessen), Guren remains one of the strongest tools in Katana's kit.
    • In EPISODE 4, Summoner with a Gunner subclass was the most busted class in the game due to Gunner's Chain Trigger ability being able to affect Maron Strike, which boasts a massive 25500 Power rating. If done correctly, a Summoner can hit upwards of a whopping 15,000,000 damage or greater in one hit, utterly destroying most content. This tactic is almost singlehandedly responsible for nerfs toward Maron and Chain Trigger, as well as the implementation of the 999,999 damage cap that has become standard for all endgame content from Deus ESC-A onwards.
    • On its initial release, the Hero class was considered a "god" class due to its insane power compared to almost anything else in the game. It combined DPS rivaling Fighter (without the arbitrary Stance and Skill drawbacks) with incredible speed, versatility, and mobility. On top of that, their powerful Hero Time Finish can deal several hundred thousands of damage with the press of a button. Their only drawback is that they're a Glass Cannon that has little ways of healing itself in the midst of combat, which can lead to an unfortunate death if you get too greedy with attacking. Hero's output later became standard for the vast majority of classes, which puts Hero into a more Difficult, but Awesome territory due to its high potential output but necessity to play well to not lose damage.
    • When the Level 85 Cap for "standard classes" (ie, anything not Hero) was released, it brought with itself a unique skill for every affected class that was supposed to provide a game-changing or enabling enhancement for that class. Some classes got the short end of the stick here, while others...did not. At all. Such is the case with the Gunner class, which got "Another S-Roll Arts Mode" (henceforth "ASRAM" for short), which takes the basic S-Roll Arts, turns it into what is essentially a rapid-fire shotgun, and gives it an additional 60% power boost, all the while the Gunner is invincible during its use because it must be performed during a Stylish Roll. The result is that ASRAM not only covers Gunner's most glaring weakness, which was also its original balancing factor, ASRAM itself is so powerful it's actually perfectly possible for a Gunner to spend half its time using it to attack instead of its Photon Arts. This subsequently gave rise to GuFi as the most powerful class in the current meta of the game, as Fighter grants enormous damage multipliers to Gunner, and thus empowering ASRAM. A properly outfitted and played GuFi can do as much damage as several characters put together when facing a mob, and its Chain Triggers are nothing short of apocalyptic. The final datum cementing ASRAM and GuFi's place is that Sega themselves confirmed that as of November 2018, only one player has managed to attain the "Forever Loner" titlenote , and they did it using GuFi.
    • For a while, it was accepted that Zieg's Crest 14★s were completely invalidated due to power creep and the introduction of 15★ weapons. However, an update was pushed out in June 2019 that gave them "Ultimate Potentials", enhanced variations of their base Potentials with much bigger damage. The actual impact of the Ultimate Potential varies on a case-by-case basis, but no other weapon experienced a boost from the update like Jupiter Tullus. Once formerly considered the best Dual Blades in the game, it eventually fell to the wayside in favor of 15★s. However, its Ultimate Potential, Thundering Blades Plus, enhances its base power bonus from 8% to 20%, on a weapon that is still considered one of the best 14★ Dual Blades despite said power creep, and with Ultimate, its maximum possible power exceeds that of 15★, turning it back into the best Dual Blades in the game.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • If you know anything about Judaisim, then you might be able to catch that "Zephyros" is essentially a close homonym to "sefirot". Not quite coincidentally, the upgraded Zeinesis weapons are known as "Qliphad" in the fan translation, and are closely named to the term "qliphoth", which are the spiritual antithesis of the sefirot in Judaisim. Notably, the sefirot are generally depicted as divine while the qliphoth are depicted as evil, making this a rather obscure instance of Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil, respectively.
    • The Primordial Darkness's two forms are named "Gomorrah" and "Sodom", after the two Biblical cities featured in the Book of Genesis that were destroyed for their sins. The Book of Genesis also happens to be the story that details the Creation Myth, fitting for an entity whose Japanese name means "origin of darkness".
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • U.F.O.s are hated with a passion. They're essentially Vegas' counterpart to the Snake Heli, except much more annoying to fight; they're small and constantly zip around while flying high into the air, making them difficult to hit, and have a significant amount of damage resistance and an unusually high amount of HP. The only way to kill them quickly is to hope they do the alien attack and break the aliens, which will cause it to flip over and expose its weakpoint, but getting it to do this is a chore in and of itself due to A.I. Roulette. In short, they're a big middle-finger to Striking classes (sans Bouncer), of which many of the game's playerbase is comprised of.
    • Mr. Umbra in Mesetan Shooter. Much like on the field, you can't attack him, or else he'll punish you. However, if you let him be, he'll drop an assortment of goodies such as Gold Coins and Power Ups. However, Mr. Umbras occasionally have a bad habit of infiltrating good stages and get in the way of valuables such as Gold Mini-Mesetans and Mesetans, preventing you from snagging good prizes lest you intend on avoiding a barrage of bombs.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Bar Lodos on SH and XH can turn into one if you execute improperly. At the beginning of the fight, you have a small window of opportunity to hook him with the Harpoon. If you miss, the fight will drag out for much longer, as his A.I. Roulette dictates that he gives you hooking opportunities far less often than on lower difficulties. Even if you get him, if you lack the DPS to kill him while he's down, he may get up and use his water bomb attack, up to twice in a row, which will drag it out even longer. While he lacks the water bomb and out-of-range properties during encounters in the Floating Facility, the fact that he can show up at random anywhere in the area will drive you up a wall in record time. May Xiao have mercy on you during the "Menace of the Sea, Render of Serenity" UQ, where you have to fight the thing no less than four times with other Wopal bosses as backup.
    • Endless transforms Luther/Loser, an otherwise fairly mundane boss with a higher-than-normal number of mechanics, into one of the biggest execution checks of any run. The fact that he starts his DPS checks when he hits an HP gate means that not fumbling on him and earning a net time gain means exploiting mechanics and his own stuns to prevent him from using his DPS checks that waste a bunch of time and give him a shield that protects him from all damage. While a Lap 1 run can generally burst him fairly easily, the fact that he gets more and more HP on subsequent laps makes him increasingly challenging to execute properly.
    • Barren Blossom: Butcher of Light brings Dark Falz Gemini. That 20 minute time limit looks a lot less forgiving when you add Gemini being a "Get Back Here!" Boss that over half the game's classes have a difficult time chasing. Also, cars.
    • Deus Esca is considered the prime example of "tedious raid boss" in the game. The fight makes heavy abuse of phases and HP gates and has a ridiculous number of unskippable, mid-battle cinematics that mess with your Skill timers for no reason. His third and final phases also involve doing battle against a core weak point that only draws close enough to be attacked at sporadic intervals and can't be hit by anyone other than casters and Summoners at any other time.
    • Elytron Dragon (and by extension, Dragon Atrum) is disliked by a large majority of the playerbase simply because he isn't fun to fight; he's mostly a Get Back Here Damage-Sponge Boss that abuses cheap Herd Hitting Attacks meant to take advantage of Hero being a Glass Cannon to make the fight "harder".
    • Golem minibosses in Omega content are obnoxiously anti-melee (which comprises half the game's Classes) and absurdly annoying due to having only one vulnerable spot on their body, which can make fights against them aggravatingly long. They're also unusually common in most of the content where they can spawn.
    • Any UH boss with an "Attack from Behind" Shield Weakpoint, as most boss weak points are situated on the front side of the boss, if it has a weak point at all.
    • Grana Gwanahda sports inflated damage resilience on anything that isn't its core or Bits, meaning that the window to deal non-gimped damage is extremely limited. Most Grana Gwanahdas are also a Damage-Sponge Boss, making for a truly annoying duel.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • There is a Falspawn Den farming gimmick where, if a party manually forfeitsnote  in the middle of Falspawn Den, the next Time Attack attempted will always be Falspawn Den. The ARKS Clones in the boss room are known for dropping Units affixed with Modulator, so players abuse the gimmick by killing the Clones in the boss room for drops, then quitting before Elder dies to repeat the cycle. This is an excellent money-making process, but takes time to do.
    • Vol Graptor/Banishing Arrow + Gunner's Chain Finish. The former two Photon Arts fire a node into a target that collects damage dealt to the part, then re-deals that same total damage after several seconds. The latter Skill initiates a Chain combo that racks up when attacked with standard attacks, then amplifies the damage of the ending Photon Art based on the Chain count. Due to a bug in the game's programming, the effect of Chain Finish would cause Vol Graptor/Banishing Arrow's damage output to inflate exponentiallynote , allowing players to do absurd things such as kill Magatsu in 31 seconds, flat. While it was shortly fixed, it lead into the development of the strategy known as "Chain Banish", a gimmick Braver/Gunner build that functions equivalently to the bugged version, but doesn't auto-nuke (some) bosses.
    • Another one of mention is the Summoner's Sari and it's Sari Territory. Normally, you are supposed to hold down the button and it would constantly drain your PP so it can deal damage in an area, but if you press the arts' key for just a frame, it becomes a free targeted EMP field that can take down bosses like Big Vardha with ease. This was quickly patched out within days to prevent further game-breaking.
    • The color swap bug associated with the My Fashion menu. By wearing an article of clothing, then swapping to a different one and taking a screenshot during the few frames in which the new outfit is loading, you can capture images of costumes with unusual color schemes, and you can achieve some pretty cool results depending on the initial outfit and the target. Unfortunately, this was also patched out a few weeks after it first surfaced, disappointing many of the bug's fans.
    • The April 20th, 2016 update brought with it a major bug where there was a high chance for the Unit Shop to sell Sub Units with the Ability "Returner II" affixed to it. This is a decent Ability that grants +5 to all stats, +2 HP, and most importantly, +2 PP, and with multiple units with the same ability in the same Affix, the odds of moving it to a better Unit or evolving it to its higher forms greatly increased. In hours, Returner II Sub Units flooded the Player Shops, demolishing the price of Returner II on the market and making it easily accessible. Within a day, SEGA pushed out an emergency maintenance that hotfixed the bug, and later that week instigated a mass sweep that involved suspending numerous accounts to delete all of the Returner II units. However, it did not affect Units that had Returner II affixed to them via the bug.
    • A similar incident occurred after the mid-March 2017 Phantasy Star Online 2es story update, during which Ragne Units for the Dark Agrani EQ were accidentally given Gift Receptor. While this doesn't do anything on its own, when sent to PSO2, Gift Receptor can be used to transfer Lucky Rise from the Lucky Rise Units available from the Excube Shop onto regular Units. As with the Returner incident, SEGA hotfixed it shortly.
    • If you use Hero Time Finish to kill Deus ESC-A at the end of his second phase to start the DPS check, the phase transition preempts the deactivation of Hero Time, which allows you to open the DPS check with a second Hero Time Finish. This has been patched.
    • When "The Beckoning Woods" first released in early January 2018, the Quest was bugged in such a way that if you got the harder alternate route, if you get the Izanekazuchi E-Trial, the game will accidentally spawn a whopping four Izane at the same time. The bug was significant enough for SEGA to call an emergency maintenance the next day to patch it out.
    • There is a bug with Jet Boots Focus known as the "double hit bug" that causes an attack to hit twice if it raises the Focus Level by 1. Combined with the S6:Soaring Ballet effect, it's possible to squeeze out double damage on Jet Boots' crazy powerful third normal attack, thus giving the bug the alternate name of "Normal 3 bug".
    • Another Jet Boots-related bug allows the effect of Jet Boots Escape to apply when Bouncer is a subclass even though it's supposed to be a Main Class Skill.
    • A bug with Divide Quest caused the background music for the boss room, "As One", to pitch up higher than usual, causing the vocals to become warped. Surprisingly, some players took a shine to the bugged music.
  • Growing the Beard: Many players agree that the back half of EPISODE 5 is a vast improvement over the first half. While the start of the Episode is notorious for hitting Dork Age status, the story being changed to give context and backstory to each of the Falzes was well-received, and the addition of meaty content updates and significant balance changes to help the original nine classes keep pace was also lauded by fans.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Eruzerion being removed from the game in May 2019, due to Capcom announcing the closure of Monster Hunter Fronter just two months later.
    • One of the unique Titles earned from defeating Ramiel advertises the June 2020 release of the final Rebuild of Evangelion movie. Quite ironic considering said movie was delayed indefinitely.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In His Coool Seha Girls, Mega Drive proposes creating a version of PSO2 that replacing practically half of everything with puyos. Players can already do this in the actual game with an item that turns their MAG into a Puyo.
    • In March 2014, a collaboration for Attack on Titan was released. Spring forward nine months later, we get an Urgent Quest involving taking down the titanic Magatsu in Harukotan, who broke through the walls and is tearing down Daybreak Province to nothing.
    • If you ever try to translate Dark Falz from it's kanji to english, usually it is translated as Phallus... Then came Mining Base Ending, which has Dark Falz Apprentice with a... Giant Penis Laser of Death.
    • EPISODE 4 wouldn't be the last time a SEGA villain's preferred weapons of choice are phantoms and cubes.
    • Deus ESCA, released in 2017, ushers in his final phase by firing a yellowish-white laser on the moon. Naturally, when he was released in the Global version over three years later, jokes about him pissing on the moon were popular.
    • The Weapon Camo "Blanc Noir", commonly referred to as the "Kirito blades" became a lot funnier when a crossover event involving Sword Art Online included said character's iconic dual blades as well as Asuna's rapier as weapon camos.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The story focuses so much on the plight of the main cast that it casually destroys entire planets for shock value - planets that never get developed or characterized whatsoever, but in at least one case seems to have an entire technologically advanced culture of its own before Dark Falz Gemini crushes it for fun with the implication that they've been doing it to numerous planets off-screen for decades. When the black hole to the Omega dimension appears, we see potentially an entire star system destroyed in seconds, and it continues to expand for a dangerously long period of time as the heroes try to stop it. Just as well, the game also glosses over things like entire destroyed ARKS ships at Dark Falz Elder's hands, something the anime certainly doesn't.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A major issue that has been the main complaint of fans since EPISODE 3 is problems concerning the game's difficulty; while player power has been consistently increasing with balance changes, the addition of new Photon Arts, Techniques and Skills, new Classes, and new abilities such as Dark Blast, enemy and raid difficulty has more or less stagnated since EPISODE 3, and the addition of "more difficult" content like Ultimate Quest and Solo XQ has been trivialized by the power curve. It says something when raid older raid bosses can still be considered more difficult, yet be cleared in a short amount of time with an average group.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: While EPISODE 6 has had comparatively positive reception, a major sticking point with fans is the massive amount of rehashed content compared to previous Episodes. While rehashed content is nothing new in every Episode since EPISODE 2, the vast majority of content updates for EP6 is enhanced or re-released existing content with a new difficulty or new Underground Monkey bosses tacked on, with only two original UQs, an Ultimate Quest, and Divide Quest released during the entire Episode through October 2020.
  • Junk Rare:
    • The majority of non-13★ gear can fall into this category for seasoned players. These kinds of equipment are generally good for newer players, but these weapons become mostly irrelevant after the player fully upgrades their first 13★. As a result, most 7-9★ weapons are used as MAG food and 10★ and 11★ weapons are turned into Excubes after that point. Alternatively, 10-12★ NT weapons are used as fodder for grinding NT weapons.
    • Weaker 10-11★ units are commonly used as fodder for Affixing or are turned in to the Recycle Shop for other items.
    • The Universe anniversary AC Scratch featured Support Items that gave the abilities GRM Boost, Yohmei Boost, and Tenora Boost, named after the manufacturers from Phantasy Star Universe. While novel, the actual abilities themselves are simply underpowered versions of Noble Might/Precision/Casting respectively without the PP bonus, and were thus considered duds in the Scratch.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many existing players have admitted expressing interest in PSO2 Cloud solely for acquiring the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild cosmetics.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Dudu, the resident Memetic Troll. He'll undo your grinds, take your Affixes, and steal your money, but people still like him.
    • Luther is beloved as a villain for being a Manipulative Bastard and a Card-Carrying Villain who has by far the most influence in the entire story. His ratings only increased further after EPISODE 5 delved into his character and fully fleshed him out.
  • Memetic Badass: As seen below in Memetic Mutation, Dudu's infamy had led to (joking) theories that he is secretly the universe's greatest evil, making the Dark Falzes look like a joke by comparison.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Male Newmans in general due to comprising a paltry 3% of the player character population (as of 2017) and for being slightly inferior to their female counterparts in terms of TEC Power. Fans joke that they don't actually exist or that they're an endangered species, among other things.
    • Hagito is seen as this, especially when he throws a tantrum over his plan failing.
    • Many joked that Clotho became broke following his client order nerfs following the Episode 6 update.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Captcha boss. explanation 
    • The aircraft pilots have become the subject of a few popular symbol arts poking fun at how bad they are at their jobs. These jokes were especially prevalent in Episode 1 when Emergency Trials for guarding their damaged aircraft were common.
    • X is a Quna fanboy.explanation 
    • YOU HAVE NO LUCK BRILLIANTLYexplanation 
    • It looks just like me.explanation 
    • Dudu is the true final boss.explanation 
    • PSO2 is finally coming to the West!explanation 
    • When Mining Base Defense: VR was revealed, the newly-added ESC-A Ragnus was revealed to have a special move where it jumps onto a Base and clings to its side while dealing damage. Jokes about ESC-A Ragnus humping the tower and mating instantly prevailed among the fans.
    • Afin's use of "mate" to refer to the player character spawned plenty of jokes, especially puns based on the "mate"-series healing items.
      Afin: "If you don't trimate, you'll dimate!"
    • You piece of ARKS trash!Explanation 
    • Gods be operative.Explanation 
      • Mocking the game's numerous typographical errors has become a meme in and of itself. Some examples include "COPLETED" note , "Healing Weapon Bonus" note , and "The Call of the Void Tigger" note .
    • Many players have latched on to the idea Quna has thick thighs, spamming symbol arts of her during her concerts that say "thick tighs save lives". In spite of this, her thighs are in fact normal sized.
    • Turn power on!Explanation 
    • Block 69, which has since become a hotbed for pornographic Symbol Arts. This eventually retired when the block count was culled to 50, replaced with Block 34 instead for similar reasons.
    • Varuna is a Simp.Explanation 
    • Lodos Day.Explanation 
  • Memetic Troll: Dudu, due to his nasty tendency to drain players of their Meseta as the result of being aligned with the RNG deities. He's despised so much that even the game itself and various other official media recognizes it.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "PSE BURST!"
    • "ONE MORE!"
    • "CROSS BURST!"
    • The jingle that plays when a 15★ drops.
    • The "kashing!" sound whenever you strike a headshot or Blight Rounds spot.
    • At the end of major raid battles like Dark Falz Elder, a reorchestration of the game's main theme blares as the nears its end. Hearing it means that you're one step away from victory.
  • Misblamed:
    • After the infamous DDoS incident locked many players out of the game, many Western fingers pointed to SEGA as the cause of an intentional IP block to keep foreigners out of the game as the attack had come from a foreign IP, despite the fact that not only was the block a completely unintentional side effect of implemented security measures, but it also had almost nothing to do with SEGA and more with an issue on Yahoo!'s end.
    • In the North American release many people often blame Sega for things that might be Microsoft's fault. They also blame the moderators for things that are Sega's fault but the moderators are actually from ESTSoft, not Sega.
    • It's not entirely clear who is to blame for the North American version's "Blind Idiot" Translation outside of the story quests however, as Sega outsourced that (to Lionbridge Technologies) as well but Sega may have been the ones responsible for rushing the translation and then not comissioning Lionbridge for it to be fixed as it's been proven the game is already fully translated up the final Chapter of EPISODE 6note .
    • Despite popular belief, AsiaSoft wasn't entirely responsible for some of the unpopular changes in the SEA version, as SEGA had a hand in the localization process. However, they were definitely responsible for the Allegedly Free Game practices that played a role in killing the game.
  • Narm: Part way through EPISODE 4, a climatic and shocking event ensues when a Brainwashed and Crazy Kohri fatally stabs Hitsugi. For the first time in the game Bloodless Carnage is completely subverted thanks to a large amount of High-Pressure Blood... except it's extremely bright pink akin to something like the Danganronpa series, taken to a ridiculous degree and looking more like they're bleeding Pepto Bismol. Even stranger, EPISODE 5 has a similar incident occur with identical effects - but with red blood.
  • Narm Charm: NA Server's Independence Day event. The thing is stupidly 'MURICA, with its America-themed male armor (and for an added bonus, that armor has lead to a few players to instead invoke All Might), a female armor that resembles a rollerskating fast food server, an American flag cape, the Store Center with a humongous Statue of Liberty and fireworks shooting all over the place, the works. It's so unashamed in its patriotic fever that fans just love it.
  • Newbie Boom: It's no exaggeration to state that PSO2 is the most popular Phantasy Star game ever. Thanks to many attempts to appeal to a wider audience, many RPG fans on both sides of the Pacific are getting to know the Phantasy Star name for the first time thanks to this game.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Attack on Titan can be pretty scary, but the Colossal Titan's cameo in PSO2 in the lobby and player rooms with the appropriate scenery pass, in glorious 3D, is REALLY frightening.
    • Sachiko Kobayashi's realistic, giant face plastered on a huge setpiece is rather unnerving to look at.
    • The Code Abyss order. With a single command phrase, the Three Heroes can effectively brainwash literally every single ARKS operative in Oracle, turning them into single-minded, nigh unstoppable automatons whose sole purpose is to hunt down and murder anyone the Heroes consider a threat, justified or not. At the climax of Episode 2, Luther manipulates the Heroes into unleashing the Order on you, and all of a sudden nearly everyone you once called a friend has instantly become a murderous berserker.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • There was a massive outcry from English fans when Earth was revealed for Episode 4, largely with complaints about how Earth doesn't fit in a Phantasy Star game. ... Except it already has. The original tetraology featured Earth not only as a setting, but as an integral part of the plotnote . However, PSO2's Earth is very different from its depiction in the original tetraology; it is more thematically anime-esque than in past installments.
    • 12★ Units actually predate the Japanese version; they were originally introduced in the now-defunct SEA versions, but lacked their special Ring Skill effect and were simply straight upgrades from the 11★ Units.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dark Rappy, Aika's Rappy Pet from EPISODE 5 that transforms into an "evil" Dark Emperappy. Despite only appearing once in the story, it was popular enough that Dark Emperappy was added as a rare spawn in various fields, and a Dark Rappy Suit was made available as a drop in Regiment of the Wicked 2019.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: Many players could give less of a damn about the plot, since the game's major selling point besides fashion is its gameplay. It's common for NA players to just mash through the Omnibus cutscenes as fast as possible to get the Star Gems from it.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The Vita version is plagued with a multitude of problems that are moreso the result of the hardware, which include low quality graphics, relatively massive storage consumption, connectivity issues, notoriously bad performance in multiplayer content, and no 3 Button mode.
    • The Windows Store release, on launch, was marred with many issues that soured many on the official release. That said, the devs have apparently stated they'll fix it (though some of these issues have been plaguging the Windows Store long before this game ever was localized). By comparison, the Steam release had most of the kinks worked out, took a couple option ideas from the fan tweaker for its own launcher, and incidentally ended up fully Windows 7 compatible like the Japanese version of the game, ending up as a relatively Polished Port by comparison.
  • Quicksand Box: One of the biggest complaints most players have late into the game's 9 year lifespan involve the fact that after the plot-focused tutorial, the game throws you into the lobby to do some basic tasks for some bearings.. and then lets you loose to find out what to do from there with next to no in-game documentation besides the barest of general tips. Even the global release, having been a modified endgame client only showing the first three episodes to start with, dropped everyone into the thick of things. This isn't helped that in regards to Class Skills and growing one's Mag without a guide on-hand, it's entirely possible to screw yourself over, potentially permanently unless you pay real money for resets or a new Mag entirely. And by 2021, any regular new player could log in and find themselves staring down the final boss of the game if they unwittingly waltzed into scheduled quests without any forewarning.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Launcher, as the result of a little ring called L/L Non Weak Bonus. For the longest time, Launcher was considered inferior to the Assault Rifle in terms of damage dealing; despite Launcher having higher theoretical damage output, its rather sluggish animations and ultimately mediocre overall damage left Launcher as little more than a PP charger when the player had stocked Weak Bullets on Rifle and needed to restore PP via Bullet Keep. SEGA's solution was to release the Skill Ring "L/Launcher Non Weak Bonus", which, at Level 20, applies the full combined effect of both of Ranger's Weak Hit Advance skills to all Launcher damage. That's a permanent +82.25% damage increase. This item singlehandedly helped Launcher get back off its feet and rise the ranks to being a powerful mobbing tool in levels that need it. The September 2017 balance patch powered it down indirectly by nerfing Weak Hit Advance to +15% damage for both Skills, which cuts its power bonus to only +32.25%, but Launcher as a whole was greatly buffed to compensate, and the Ring is still incredibly potent.
    • DEX MAGs. Prior to the October 2017 balance patch, DEX MAGs were basically seen as a noob trap; DEX is a Dump Stat and the two classes that have a Skill that converts DEX to ATK, Braver and Bouncer, can only do so at the rate of 50%, which makes it impractical to invest in compared to simply getting to Lv. 200 in the ATK stat of your choice. The aforementioned balance patch fixed this by making the above Skills default, so they don't need Skill Points to receive their effects, and doubled the conversion rate to 100%, so it is actually now more practical to have Lv. 200 DEX on your MAG for these classes specifically than it is to have a Lv. 200 ATK stat, as having Lv. 200 DEX now gives you an effective Lv. 600 MAG. This is further expounded by the Phantom Class, which also uses DEX Mags and thus has a lot to gain from having one.
    • Cruel Throw was often seen as one of the worst Sword PAs in the game; if you use it on a target you can't throw, you'll only grab and throw a light ball that has a measly 300% potency and doesn't stack with certain Skills, making it utterly useless. The 10/17/17 balance patch changed this behavior by making the PA do the full damage of the throw even if you grab the light ball, which boosted Cruel Throw from bottom-tier to at least above-average.
    • Gunblade has been dismissed as completely useless in serious combat, only seen to generate PP in a pinch. The weapon was rescued when Luster, an entire class dedicated to the weapon, was announced, and further rescued when at Luster's release the Gunblade was also given considerable buffs across the board for non-Luster classes (or using Luster as a subclass).
    • Downplayed example: the debut of the Mission Pass renewed interest in repeatable Urgent Quests that were either outdated (like Drawn to Darkness or Giant Automata: The Awakening) or otherwise lacked enticing loot (like repeated runs of Falz Arms before fighting Elder.) Since every single week has a Tier Mission to complete 10 Urgent Quests, spamming quests like the ones mentioned are a great way to breeze through that mission.
      • And then permanent Collection Files for pre-ground Scion Class weapons debuted on the Japanese server (with coveted Grind Cap +1 items available as part of the package.) Since progress in the Collection Files depends more on the quantity of Urgent Quests run than how difficult/long they are, said quests can be used to help farm for grinding materials (or the weapons themselves for alts/cosmetics.)
    • Hero TMG was originally considered the weakest of Hero's three weapons; aside from its ludicrous Counter-Attack, most of its PAs were generally inferior in coverage, utility, and damage output to anything Swotd could do, giving players very little reason to use it outside of casual content or content with heavy counter abuse. SEGA proceeded to push a major balance update in mid 2020 that heavily rebalanced TMG in addition to buffing Weak Hit Critical to a whopping 150% for no particular reason other than to allow players to use a specific S-Grade to gain an essentially free 6% damage against weak points, boosting it from the worst Hero weapon to possibly the best Hero weapon.
  • Self-Fanservice: Shiva has a rather average body type due to sharing her physical appearance with Harriet. However, because she is considered Evil Is Sexy by the fans, she tends to get drawn with heavily accentuated "features".
  • The Scrappy:
    • Monica was put into Dudu's position on even-numbered blocks for the purpose of being so Moe that you couldn't stay mad at her while failing your grinds. It hasn't worked so far; in fact her clumsiness in comparison to Dudu's competence laced with trolling has made some people hate her more.
    • Hitsugi is by far the least popular protagonist in the story, mostly due to having a bland and forgettable character. To put this into perspective, during the first (and only) General Election she was featured as a choice in, she placed 13th. That's lower than Kouri.
    • Goron Zran. Possibly one of the least memorable bosses in the game, it also happens to be a Goddamned Boss with Deflector Shields that make it either the easiest or worst boss to encounter depending on the content you're playing and who you're running it with.
    • The White Day 2020 update gave us Dragon Ignissimo, Dragon Ex's Ultralized counterpart. Unlike most Ultralized bosses, Ignissimo isn't anymore interesting to fight than its base counterpart; it's as slow as ever, it just hits harder and has slightly more coverage with attacks. Many players also can't stand its voice acting, which appears to sound like a mix of Dragon Ex and Noire Draal in theory but comes off as grating and robotic-sounding.
    • Aika isn't very well liked in the English version due to her poor voice acting. While the voice acting attempts to capture the stoic and aloof nature of her character that's represented in the Japanese voice acting, the end result has her sounding more deadpan than anything, with the English voice acting often being derisively compared to text-to-speech.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Urgent Quest system is frequently cited as one of the weakest parts of the game. Not only does it mean that most of the best gear is restricted to time-sensitive content, but the best content is usually delegated to Emergency Quests, which means that most players don't get to play it outside of random occurrences and a scheduled timetable. This is a huge nuisance to players who enjoy content at their own pace and would like to play it whenever they feel like.
    • Affixing is often referred to by players as one of the most beginner-unfriendly equipment enhancement systems ever designed. In theory, the system allows you to customize your equipment with a set of Abilities tailored to your needs, allowing players virtually infinite freedom in equipment customization. In practice, however, the system is incredibly complex due to various arbitrary rules that vary from Ability to Ability based on what's being affixed, Affixing requires a certain degree of luck to execute properly, and due to how powerful it can make you in the long run, it's easily the biggest money sink in the game (in-game and real money) next to popular cosmetics.
    • The setup for the Excube menu is often criticized for being tedious; it only allows you to exchange one item at a time for an Excube, which can take forever if you have a lot of unwanted gear. A major update in March 2016 "fixed" this by replacing it with a new system that also drew fire for now requiring the player to memorize the exact number of items to be traded, or else the transaction won't go through. The complaints that arose when the latter appeared were loud enough for SEGA to fix it a week or two later to its current systemnote .
    • While not as criticized as the Excube problem, people have requested for mass Tekking since the release of the Tekking system; this is because prior to 2016, item Tekking worked exactly like Excubes, in that items could only be identified one at a time, which was also tedious.
    • Gathering has been panned by most players; many players feel that the fact that it's gated behind a very slow Stamina gauge is unnecessary padding, and some feel as though the concept simply doesn't belong in a Phantasy Star game. However, the area it's associated with, Franka's Cafe, has been well-received. Later updates to the Gathering system have improved it somewhat, but players still dislike it.
    • Star Gems were blasted by the English-speaking community for being Bribing Your Way to Victory. It doesn't help that the Star Gems Scratch is only available via Star Gems and contains exclusive content that cannot be traded away and sold unlike normal AC content, forcing players to accumulate Star Gems to have a shot at getting their item of choice. The stigma against Star Gems has slowly been dissipating due to the introduction of many, many, many ways to earn them in-game for free, which include doing the Magatsu Bonus Quest, Login Stamps, Casino Shop, ARKS Bingo, ARKS League, events, etc.
    • The SG Recycle Shop got off to a rocky start when it was initially implemented. The original system had it so that you needed to have 40 SG Items to trade in for an item in the SG Recycle Shop... except the Recycle Shop only had a portion of the items in the actual Scratch. If you wanted something that was in the Scratch but not in the Recycle Shop, tough luck. The system implemented with the "Darkness Conviction" SG Scratch had it so that scratching 40 times would yield a Bonus Ticket that would let you get any item on the prize list for free... but since acquisition of the Bonus Ticket was tied to the number of times scratched, and there were no "Darkness Conviction" items in the SG Recycle Shop, any junk you didn't want was basically useless in terms of counting towards anything you wanted from the Scratch, except to count as a pull for the Bonus Ticket. The "Ether Mother Hope" SG Scratch finally fixed it by consolidating the two systems, so you can now trade for a Bonus Ticket by using 40 SG items.
    • The "guided spawns" system used on Earth fields has drawn a lot of ire for being extremely slow. Prior to a stealth fix, there would often be a delay of a few seconds between clearing a spawn point and something else happening, be it a Trial or another spawn point appearing. This tends to add up in the long run, stretching out completion times by magnitudes of minutes, artificially inflating the time it took to finish fields. This problem was even more pronounced when Beach Wars 2016! was released, which was derided as the worst iteration of Beach Wars to date due to using the guided spawns, making the entire Emergency Quest move very slowly and denying players of repeat runs due to taking too long. This problem was quietly fixed in an update; it is now roughly as fast as doing regular fields with the gimmick movement options, but the stigma against the system still remains.
    • Scratch Bonus has been floating dangerously close to this barrier for a long time. Essentially, Scratch Bonus lets you earn special untradeable rewards for playing AC Scratch a lot, such as extra Lobby Actions and Costumes, or Bonus Keys. Players typically didn't mind this, since the rewards were either cosmetics they could live without or stuff that could be earned through the normal course of gameplay... With the sole exception of the "Slit Eyes" face variant. The reason why this particular cosmetic created so much flak for the Scratch Bonus system is because it's part of the Phaleg set, which is available through AC Scratch normally. This means that in order to complete a Phaleg set, you need to earn Scratch Bonus. This isn't helped by the fact that Scratch Bonus is only available for a limited time, so once the associated Scratch passes, it's gone for good. Players instantly got on SEGA's case for gating a highly-desired cosmetic behind a paywall and feared that they would lock future popular cosmetics the same waynote . However, Scratch Bonuses eventually started turning up as SG Scratch items a year down the line, which not only allows players who aren't willing to cough up the cash to acquire them to get them, but also allows them to (potentially) snag them for free.
    • Despite being pretty cool, the Rideroid is frequently cited as clumsy and hard to control by PC players. Part of the reason why the ESC-A Falz Mother raid is divisive is because this mechanic takes up the first half of the fight.
    • The Global release has a special shop called Fresh Finds, which takes the place of the Treasure Shop and sells Quest Triggers, materials, and a wide variety of cosmetics. The main catch of Fresh Finds is that almost all of the relevant items require Star Gems, which are both limited and difficult to get in Global compared to the Japanese version. In addition, cosmetics are very expensive, with outfits going for at least 300 Star Gems minimum (with an average of about 400) and most accessories hovering around 100 SG average or higher. Cosmetics in Fresh Finds are also untradeable unlike their Japanese counterparts, meaning it's pay up or bust. Fresh Finds also features weekly and daily rotations, which means if you don't have the SG for a daily rotation item, you might as well kiss it goodbye. Not to mention that SEGA is not very good at ensuring that Fresh Finds items are untradeable like they should be, which can result in the entire feature being removed for extended periods of time without warning and being unable to buy any items that were sold on the day that the shop was taken down.
  • Scrappy Weapon: Before the Luster class arrived and finally gave the game a class focused on Gunblades, the weapon was squarely in this territory. The Gunblade has a history of infamy for essentially being an emergency backup weapon with its only claim to fame being good PP efficiency. It falls short pretty much every other category including overall DPS, mobbing, and bossing ability. The best use most players got out of them were PP battery weapons (and even then there were more and more alternatives for it to compete with as time went on.) In-Universe, Risa, the Ranger trainer and resident Gun Nut, actually dismisses this weapon as just a backup weapon, bemoaning its terrible fire rate.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The Profound Darkness can be this compared to other Episode Final Bosses if the A.R.K.S. buff at any level is active. Without the buff, it's actually an extremely difficult raid boss that deals at most 90% of a player's health per hit in damage. With the buff, however, it becomes nearly incapable of killing anyone if you maintain a high HP total. So in response, the developers made it harder. A lot harder. All of its attacks were massively buffed in scope and attack power, and the strength of the the A.R.K.S. buff was decreased, so it can now One-Hit Kill players very easily. The remastered version also adds in a few new mechanics and changes up the existing patterns: for example, growing a massive eye that both acts as a weak point and a warning sign that it's about to go berserk.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer:
    • The Casino Lobby. Many players from the Western closed beta test of the game can attest to squandering their limited playtime away on Black Nyack and Mesetan Shooter.
    • The sheer amount of customization options is a huge draw for some players. Combined with how accessible cosmetic options are compared to some other F2P games, don't be surprised if you end up spending just as much, if not more, time playing virtual fashionista compared to actually playing the game. Helps matters that you get a Title and Star Gems for Lookbook likes so it isn't a total waste.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning:
    • EPISODE 1 is just 95% cutscenes and 5% gameplay, and a large chunk of those cutscenes don't actually move the plot forward, instead serving to give context to the game's setting. Many players who were willing to slog it out through this part of the story admit that the pacing improves immensely in later Episodes.
    • This is a common criticism of EPISODE 4 from players who don't hate the Episode outright. While it has a decent premise and the actual climax isn't that bad all things considered, the plot takes so long wallowing through tired and predictable anime tropes that when it actually starts getting good there's not enough time left before the story's over.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's rendition of Ignite Infinity, thanks to Narm Charm.
    • Drawing from Base-Breaking Character above, there is a third group of people who find Afin's inexplicable Britsralian accent enjoyably ridiculous.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The Xbox One version of the game was touted as having 4K support. This... does not quite work as intended. The end result is that the game looks bizarrely blurry on the Xbox One whereas the Japanese PS4, PC, and Switch versions do not have this issue and look mostly the same to each other.
    • Quirks with the game's asset pipeline dating back to 2012 crop up all over the place. From the fact that no one has animated fingers outside of Episode 5 story cutscenes onwards, to the numerous characters that were made with the in-game sliders well before later characters were more refined and never getting patched up to snuff. And in cases like the Big Bad of Episode 6, Shiva, it becomes extremely obvious that she was designed for only front angles in mind as the moment the camera turns to her side, she's absurdly thin to a likely-unintended Uncanny Valley degree.
  • Surprise Difficulty:
    • For several weeks after launch, Mining Base Defense: Despair rattled the playerbase to its core due to how difficult it was compared to pretty much every other existing Quest. As no other Quest required a strategy beyond "hit everything until they die", the fact that bumrushing the opposition became detrimental to success caused failures abound. Merely finishing the Quest was a miracle in and of itself. Even after the proper strategy was worked out, it's still the hardest Quest to complete consistently.
    • Yamato too easy? Bethor a complete pansy? Say hi to Phaleg, who will stomp you if you don't take her at least a little bit seriously. While her HP is low, she has extremely high defensive stats and unmatched speed, which she pairs with annoying attack patterns that hit surprisingly hard. Unless you can nuke her quickly or possess speed to match hers, expect to be forced to learn her patterns to not get demolished by her high-speed antics.
    • Mining Base Defense: VR took by surprise several players who thought it would be just Mining Base: Invasion with a different enemies gimmick. A lot of the replacement enemies aren't as braindead as some Falspawn are, and Ultimate enemies are actually more difficult to account for. The game also likes to send walls your way and then put AIS Exoda behind them, which tend to take out towers if you don't already have a player on the other side fighting them. Several other arbitrary restrictions are also in place to give players a hard time, including the removal of Turrets, preventing players from doing anything with nodes until late in the Quest, and Solza fields actually disabling nodes permanently due to the removal of purification.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Episode 4 got hit with this fairly hard by the Western fandom. First came the teaser for the new class, Summoner. Complaints about Summoner range from the designs of the pets being "Too cutesy for PSO," to claims that a pet-based class is unsuited for or "Too easy". Then came the reveal of Earth in the year 2028 as the next major planet, with many decrying it for feeling that it doesn't fit the tone of the game thus far, though opinions were more positive about the designs of the Phantom enemies. Then came the previews of the story cutscenes themselves, focusing on a pair of Japanese High School girls and a young boy in a normal home. Cue cries of fans that PSO2 had suddenly become a Japanese High School Slice of Life series.
  • Tear Jerker: Quna's Eternal Encore in the story of Episode 1 is a lot sadder when you have the context and translated lyrics together.
  • That One Achievement:
    • In true PSO tradition, getting the Rare Random Drop you want from rare enemies/bosses. The Dark Falz bosses in any of their forms are the worst offenders, since their high-level versions that have the best loot only show up in event missions.
    • Somehow averted for the actual Trophies themselves, since none of them are actually too difficult to achieve, they simply require the player to invest some time into the game.
    • In a more frustrating example, getting a +35 13★ weapon for your Main Class. If you don't play that often, it can be difficult to keep up with the game long enough to get this Title, and it's one of the two Titles required to extend the Level Cap from 75 to 80. In addition, if you want to unlock Level 80 on every Class, you have to get a +35 13★ for every classnote .
    • Some Titles are simply outright annoying to get.
      • Most of the Item Titles. Many of them are tied to old Weapons that existed prior to the NT update... that were removed from the drop pools after the NT update and replaced. No, the NT versions don't count. If Phantasy Star Online 2es didn't have the old weapons as drops, the associated Titles would practically be lost. An early 2021 update for JP included a quality-of-life update that added all weapons related to Item Titles to the Weapon Badge SP shop, making all item titles obtainable (for a hefty sum).
      • Crafting Titles are notoriously grindy, since they require you to repeat a specific Craft type or get a certain number of Great Successes. These are typically extremely resource-intensive to no actual benefit, and the Great Successes are a Luck-Based Mission.
      • A handful of the Casino Titles are 100% pure RNG. Each of the Casino games have one particular Title that is extremely difficult to get due to being a very rare occurrence, such as "Shooting Star", which requires you to trigger a NEO PSE Burst in Mesetan Shooter, "Rappy Star", which requires you to get a Jackpot in Rappy Slotsnote , and "Elder Bonus Getter", which requires you to clear the Stage 30 Elder Bonus in Arkuma Slots.
      • Getting the title to acquire the last "free" Time Reversal Stone Chronos item, required to craft the Atlas 14★ series, and thus it's upgrade, the Atlas Ex 15★ series. It's a title obtained for having a certain number of total obtained titles. Specifically, 1100 titles. This is an incredibly steep number and requires the player to perform an extraordinarily wide range of feats, including quite possibly several or all of the above aforementioned Titles. Unless the player in question has been playing for a long time and tried out as much of the game as possible in that time, this single title alone will take several months or longer of dedicated effort to obtain, to say nothing of the required resources.
      • Ditto with the Unlocking Liberate given at 1300 Titles, used to upgrade Novel to Liberate. It's an even higher bar than the Chronos and new Titles aren't very common, meaning you will have to grind even more to get it.
      • Two of the most difficult Titles to get in the game: Forever Loner and Endless Loner. These require you to get a certain high score in Endless Quest, by no means a small feat by any stretch of the imagination due to demanding a high level of skill, knowledge, strategy, and some luck to make enough progress before time expires.
  • That One Attack:
    • While difficult to call an attack due to it being constantly active, Big Varder's missile launchers can be a very annoying hazard if you're simply trying to take him out the quick way.
    • For newer players, Elder's laser beam. It pulls you in towards it, and sweeps the arena, dealing massive damage to unfortunate players and inflicting survivors with Freeze. However, if you pay attention to more experienced players, you'll discover that the laser's point of origin, where it pulls you towards before it fires, is actually its blind spot.
    • On Ultra Hard difficulty, Dekor Maryuda adds a new attack to its arsenal where it rapidly spins in place. It has good coverage and will blast away melee-range characters on contact.
    • The infamous "Big Crunch Project" attack that Falz Angel sports involves assaulting the battlefield with an array of Frickin' Laser Beams that hit hard and have wide coverage. It's not hard to predict or avoid, but it is very painful if you get caught in it. The attack ends with a Wave-Motion Gun that can easily pulverize anything in its path and comes out quite quickly after Angel finishes teleporting in. Omega Angel's version of it adds some extra laser angles for good measure and a second Wave-Motion Gun (its version of Diffusion Ray) that hits even harder.
    • When Dark Falz Luther slows time, he may perform a slowed-down version of his spin attack. This, alongside the time stop, is one of the deadliest moves in his arsenal. Despite going slow, it moves about as fast as a player running full tilt, which makes it difficult to outrun. Getting hit by a blade deals astoundingly high damage, and on squishier characters, it's very likely they'll get offed instantly. He also spawns mines that cause knockback and inflict Mirage if you touch them, and will most likely knock you into a blade if you're unfortunate enough to run into one.
    • Gal Gryphon occasionally likes to fly up and out, leaving a twister in its wake. Not only does it have a vacuum effect, it also deals continuous damage if you're near the point of origin. This is followed up by Gal Gryphon crashing down from the sky. If the twister didn't already kill you, the follow-up will.
    • Dark Falz Apprentice Zia's "Phallus Laser" that can only be stopped by destroying the source of the laser, which would not be hard if it weren't for Apprentice being That One Boss.
    • Empe Rappy can roll on you. That doesn't sound threatening in and of itself, but even against properly geared players, being rolled on by an Empe Rappy can deal a ton of damage, and at higher levels can possibly One-Hit Kill players with less HP.
    • Pray you aren't standing next to Dourumble when it rises into the air with a jack-in-the-box. A swarm of energy-based hands raining from the sky will almost definitely and immediately kill any player in close proximity.
    • The Profound Darkness's Over End in Solo XQ and on Extra Hard difficulty. One swing deals 1000+ damage, and between the energy orbs and Satellite Cannon spam, not getting whacked by it is extremely difficult. The majority of players do not have over 1000 HP, so one wrong dodge can end your Solo XQ crusade in an instant.
    • Gemini's cars are a good source of frustration in Perennial Apocalypse due to randomly targeting players and dealing high damage with stagger. Being targeted by multiple cars simultaneously is nearly guaranteed death if you can't get out of the way. Even worse in the solo version, in which all the cars always target you.
    • Deus Hunas has an attack where he summons bolts of lightning to stun players. He always follows this up with a powerful spikes attack that has a big area of effect in front of him and kills practically immediately via dealing high enough damage at fast enough intervals to hit through survival skills like Automate and Iron Will. Most players keel over instantly as soon as the spikes land. The unfortunate part is that even if you break Stun, another bolt is summoned on your position before you have a chance to react.
    • Deus Angelus has the infamous sweeping spikes attack. Deus Angelus waves his hand over the arena, and a big area-of-effect marker appears below you seconds before a wave of spikes appears and deals very high damage with knockback. The only way to avoid it without invulnerability frames is to find one of the blind spots, but due to the arena's size and the wide AOE of the attack, figuring out where the blind spots are is difficult. Players that can't find the blind spot and don't have Gran Wave typically eat the brunt of the attack with lethal results.
    • The Magisterial Onslaught version of Yamato possesses a souped up version of the missile phase. What makes this version different is that in addition to the normal XH version which spawns six missiles, then spawns an extra six farther away, this version spawns another six missiles close to Yamato. While the missiles can be destroyed in one Photon Saber hit, getting four players to cut down 18 missiles in 15 seconds without any player getting lasered in the process is extremely hard, but not impossible. The vast majority of Magisterial runs wind up in a Total Party Kill on this attack, but thankfully, it isn't a Quest failure when it occurs.
    • Elytron Dragon's backflip attack, otherwise known (affectionately) as "JAMADA" due to its associated voice clip, involves the Dragon jumping into the air and performing a backfilp while scraping its tail along the ground, which tosses up a bunch of rock clusters that target players. It has a rather annoying tendency to simply throw the attack without much warning, the attack itself has a fairly large AOE, and the rocks home in on players, which can knock you on your ass if you aren't actively on the move. In addition, because of the Dragon's gargantuan size and rapid movement, this attack has a habit of causing Camera Screw if you're locked on to it, which makes dodging the attack and the follow-up rocks that much more difficult. The worst part comes when its HP dips low enough, after which it tacks on a part after executing the attack in which it re-positions itself by flying halfway across the map, which can make fighting the Dragon an absolute exercise in frustration for Classes with poor mobility due to having to chase the stupid thing as it runs away from you.
    • If Dimolduminus is known for anything, it's its infamously difficult DPS check. At a certain HP threshold, Dimul summons a giant energy orb and begins to push players to the back of the arena with a giant, impassable wall. The only way past it is to break the three nodes on the wall, which will destroy it and allow the players to escape. However, the nodes have incredibly high HP and are not easy to break when eight players are split up among three nodes. Failing the DPS check causes the orb to rain down light on the MPA and inflict massive damage, likely killing unlucky players who are unable to block or avoid the attack.
    • Sturm Mizer's take on Tranzexia's Wave-Motion Gun attack is infamous for its staggering damage, egregiously large hitbox, and the fact that it's very easy for it to catch you unawares on Free Field territory, where it's usually accompanied by another boss and can hit through walls and other enemies.
  • That One Boss:
    • There's a boss tougher than any other in the game. It has a time limit, constantly shifts forms, and if you don't defeat it, you may never be able to play the game. It's name? The captcha boss.
    • Vol Dragon in the early days was known as the Wake-Up Call Boss. It makes the Rockbear you fought back in Forest Exploration look like cannon fodder. Not only is it a Mighty Glacier Damage-Sponge Boss, the longer you fight it, the faster and more aggressive it gets, culminating into a Lightning Bruiser at max power who constantly showers you with hard-hitting attacks and wields a nuke that can obliterate you if you're standing in the wrong place. Years of updates have toned down Vol Dragon's threat level considerably, however.
    • The Bansers and Banshees, colloquially known as the "cats", were among the toughest bosses in the early days of the game due to essentially being Lightning Bruisers in a series where players are known for having the mobility of a lethargic elephant. This eventually went away after years of power and mobility enhancements for players... then their Ultra counterparts, Blizzard Banshee and Blizzard Banther, were introduced in EPISODE 6, who have gained notoriety as MPA slayers due to their array of fast, hard-to-evade Area of Effect attacks that hit like sledgehammers being fired from a machine gun.
    • Quartz Dragon and Dragon X are notable in that they combine attacks that will one or two-shot most same-level players with attacks that can cause Panic. If you're slow or unlucky enough to get hit, the time you take struggling to adapt to the wonky controls (let alone curing yourself) is usually all they need to line up a killing blow.
    • Falz Angel can be this. Annoyingly fast? Check. Hits like a freight train? Check. One-Hit Kill attacks? Check. Fast One Hit Kill attacks? Also check. Frickin' Laser Beams? Of course. Flunky Boss? That too. Its EP5 variant Omega Angel cranks it up a notch by giving it its own twists on Compound Techniques and generally making it more unpredictable and trickier.
    • Dark Falz Luther was the toughest boss in the game when it was released. He's beefier, stronger, more unpredictable, and less susceptible to cheese compared to Dark Falz Elder, and the bulk of his kit could deal massive amounts of damage or kill outright. It was generally accepted that dying against Loser was more of an inevitability than anything else.
    • Dark Falz Apprentice Zia is definitely this as it happens to be the boss at the end of Mining Base Defence: Ending. Not only does Apprentice flood the field around the bases with dark fluid that damages you when you so much as put your toe in it, they also have a laser attack that can One Hit Decimate the entire field, Killing everyone that so much as gotten grazed by the beam AND destroy all the bases if you do not stop it in time. And to add on top of that, they can erect walls to stop you from reaching their weak point, forcing you to cut through them with your A.I.S. as they charge their One-Hit Kill Laser.
    • At the end of the Boss Bonanza Solo Extreme Quest, you get The Profound Darkness... in its Clipped-Wing Angel Duel Boss form. Simple, right? Wrong. In the regular final boss fight, you usually have an ARKS buff or three before you fight Profound Darkness!Persona as well as 11 or so other players to help lay on the smackdown; you don't get either in the Solo Extreme Quest, and with the wide array of fast attacks it does, it can easily two-shot you in a matter of seconds if you let your guard down.
    • Train Ghidoran is a tough customer, since the only way to deal any effective damage is to Attack Its Weakpoint. This is much harder than it sounds, because its weak points are only exposed for a very brief period after it uses certain attacks, and you must deal enough damage to break the passenger doors to expose the real weak points. At a certain health threshold or after two doors break, it Turns Red, granting all of its major attacks devastating new properties and a power boost, allowing it to easily One-Hit Kill more squishy characters. It can be stunned by damaging its feet or inflicting Mirage on it, but the feet have extremely high damage resistance, and as with most enemies, the more times you inflict Mirage, the more resistance it gains to it, which means you can only do this so many times.
    • While Esca Falz Mother isn't that hard a fight by herself, what leads into her on the other hand is particularly nasty: a Ridroid section that both controls a little differently than the Ridroid missions and is a "Get Back Here!" Boss as you try to damage Mother enough to force the fight into phase two. The problem? Around four hits, or less if you run into scenery, and you're forced to respawn with only sporadic partial health recovery rings strewn about. Respawning more than once affects your ranking and drop rate, and failing to beat her in time is also an abysmal rating. Combine this with the fact that your boost method of keeping up with her has a long cooldown and it's entirely possible to struggle in finally reaching her, only to have her fly off again. And if the Bullet Hell lasers and projectiles weren't bad enough, when she gets too far away You Are Already Dead by the explosions trailing you.
    • Part of the reason why some players consider Solo Training: Phanatical Phantoms to be That One Level is because of Deus Hunas. Already a Goddamned Boss out on the field, Phanatical Phantoms cranks his damage up the wazoo in addition to existing traits like lack of a weak spot, numerous wide-range attacks with awful hitboxes, and that infamous Desperation Attack. He also has a Stage Order where you can't get hit for one minute, and the kicker is that he's the first boss. The entire rest of the XQ is considered easier than him by comparison.
    • While Deus Esca has been more or less solved by the advent of Hero, for the most part, the 10/17/17 PSO2 STATION! livestream added a one-time boosted Deus Esca with 3x its normal ATK and 2x its normal HP to coincide with a +300% EXP and Rare Drop Rate bonus. Cue horror stories of people not being able to clear Deus ESC-A Gracia because of Hero parties getting swatted down like flies in the face of attacks that deal upwards of 1000+ damage per hit in combination with a five-death limit.
    • The Trigger Quest version of Elzelion is considered one of the more challenging bosses in the game due to flying in the face of most PSO2 boss conventions. It hits outrageously hard for a boss of its caliber (only rivaled by the strongest raid bosses) and combines erratic, rapid movement, lack of telegraphs, and huge Area of Effect damage into one. The Quest also has a limit of three deaths, and the boss punishes mistakes harder than anything else in the game short of Dragon Atrum. It's telling when the best strategies to defeat him involve stunlocking him to death with Paralysis, trips, head breaks, and tail breaks, because letting him get any attacks in can potentially send the battle downhill in an instant.
    • Shiva represents the extreme minority of Story Quest content that presents an actual challenge. The boss is constantly on the offensive, showering the field with powerful attacks that cover 50% to 70% of the tiny field you're in. It also sits on a throne that it uses as a weapon; said throne has its own hurtbox, which takes vastly reduced damage if you hit it, and the boss itself is human-sized and a much smaller target, meaning bonking the throne accidentally is very common. It also has comparatively higher HP than most Story bosses, sporting a hefty 5,000,000 HP on top of higher-than-average defenses.
      • Speaking of Story Quest bosses that provide a challenge, say hi to Phaleg, who will wreck your shit if you think she'll only be marginally more challenging than the first two times you fight her. Even the A.I. Breaker class that is Summoner will have quite a few problems, as she will take out your pets quickly before moving on to you, forcing you to switch pets quickly to stay on the offensive. Oh, and did we mention the fight is timed? And you don't get a Casual version of this fight?
      • At least Phaleg's fight is optional. Omega Appregina is an insulting cakewalk on Casual, but fighting the Hardcore version is like stirring up a nest of man-sized hornets. Appregina always has two drones at her side, one of which heals for 40K while the other tries to carve you up, meaning that you need your head on a swivel if you don't want to get stung in places you didn't know you had places (for the cherry on top, those minions respawn, and while Appregina stops what she's doing to respawn them if both go down, each will return on a timer if you don't act quick). That's not to mention the Desperation Attack where she tries to suck you in while shooting her minions at you, and if they don't finish you off, the explosion at the end is likely to be enough. Did we mention that you get the [Apprentice] Dark Blast from this fight? Good luck — you'll need it!
    • "Hatred: Primordial Darkness" is essentially the dev team's one last "screw you" before New Genesis. It's the Primordial Darkness but on an extremely strict time limit, with a death limit, and extremely high offense. It is notable for being the only multiplayer content in the game where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist doesn't apply, meaning that players who are both competent and geared properly are basically required to both not die and clear within the 22:22 time limit. Considering the wild range of both player competency and player gearing, playing in a pug is extremely ill-advised unless you're very lucky.
  • That One Level:
    • The Emergency Code: Rescue variant that involves a Lillipan caught in the arms of a volatile Gilnas torso. Players must protect the Gilnas from damage to prevent it from exploding so that the Lillipan's friend can pull his buddy out from the Gilnas' arms. Unfortunately, the Gilnas happens to be ludicrously fragile, and can be attacked by players. It's not uncommon to see players either fail the Code or just ignore it outright when it happens. In fact, completing it is somehow easier if you ignore it!
    • Changeover Code: Capture is even more likely to be ignored because the player/party is already halfway through beating down the target by the time the objective changes. It also requires making sure the boss stays within a very small space for a certain period of time, which means leading the boss around in effectively circles and hoping it doesn't run away, which forces you to lead it back to the circle. It's usually faster to just kill it.
      • Even when Capture is just a straight up Emergency Code this applies, because the majority of the time by the time anyone realizes that it's a Capture EC, the target is mostly already dead or just straight up dead period, especially on lower levels. There's no real consequences for failing the EC aside from just not getting a rather minor reward, so doing the EC properly is really just a waste of time.
    • Lillipa Time Attack is both very long and very frustrating, with a lot of Guide Dang It! that is required to get the fastest route.
    • Tokyo and Vegas, both Free Fields that run on Scrappy Mechanics and whose clear times are heavily RNG-dependent due to E-Trials constituting the bulk of your Quest Points. Game not spawning E-Trials? Tough luck. Their resident field bosses are also RNG spawns unlike other Free Fields and several Phantasms are Goddamned Bats or Demonic Spiders.
    • Matter Board 1-11 is one of the hardest Matter Boards to complete in the game; a lot of the end Nodes call for hunting rare enemies and bosses that you'd be hard-pressed to find naturally. Thankfully, it's not required to get a Creator's Emblem.
    • Episode 2, Chapter 5 represents a massive step up in difficulty as far as Story Quests are concerned. Abyssal ARKS swarm the player in spades, bosses and Elite Mooks are rampant, and there are also two very irritating bosses involved. However, much of the Quest was not designed with Bouncers in mind, so bringing one may relieve much of the stress, including Theodor.
    • Omnibus 2-5 isn't much better, especially since the maximum level limit of the enemies was bumped up to Lv. 75 and most of the enemies were made overall tankier. The only consolations are that this version of it is much more generous with the checkpoints, the Blu Ringahda at the end of Area 7 was replaced by a Dekor Maryuda, and that Hero makes the ordeal significantly easier, but not any less long.
    • Episode 3, Chapter EX may very well be one of the most annoying Story Quests ever designed. The Quest takes place in Destroyed World: Lillipa, which means Ultimate Enemies make up 90% of the spawns, and despite being nerfed, they still hit like trucks and are aggressive beyond belief. Furthermore, the game has a tendency to stuff you into relatively cramped spaces, then Zerg Rush you with said Demonic Spiders, which is a death sentence for players unable to control groups efficiently. Checkpoint Starvation is also in full play; despite the fact that they exist in this quest, the lone checkpoint doesn't appear until the very end, when the point is rather moot anyways. It says something when Anga Fundarge, the Quest's boss, is probably the easiest part of the Quest. And to top it off, your allowed damage count if you're going for S-Rank? 1000, which is almost assuredly the amount of damage any one of these enemies will deal in a single hit, all but requiring a No-Damage Run that you can't even arguably try to cheese with better gear and higher levels.
    • Clearing Omnibus 3-5 [Why Am I Here] is one thing. S Ranking it is something else. To get an S Rank, you need to clear the entire Quest from start to finish without using checkpoints, and you need to take less than 2000 damage total. Keep in mind that the Demonic Spiders from the original 3-EX are still here, but worse, and Anga was upgraded into a Goddamned Boss by virtue of becoming significantly tankier; a prolonged fight with Anga can spell doom for your ranking if you're bad at avoiding its constant projectile spam. Obvious Rule Patch is also in effect, as the enemy level is always Level 80 regardless of your own Level, and you can't continue with a Scape Doll or Half Doll. Frustratingly, not only is one of the ultra-rare Ability Affix Success Rate +45% locked behind an S Rank, a Campaign requires getting an S Rank without using Hero to get valuable Campaign rewards, which makes the ordeal that much more difficult.
    • EPISODE 4 Chapter 8. The quest is gruelingly long compared to other Story Quests, involves Extra Hard-grade enemies whose attacks largely consist of projectile spam and attacks that inflict stagger, knockback, and Panic, and has Ophiel as a mid-boss. Thankfully, unlike the other Marathon Level Story Quest EPISODE 2 Chapter 5, Checkpoint Starvation is averted, but if you want an S Rank on it, you need to take less than a certain amount of damage for the entire Quest and beat the entire thing in one sitting (which means no continuing), which is no small feat.
    • Mining Base Defense: Despair requires efficiency, cooperation, and proper prioritization to win. Of course, this being PSO2, this can be a huge challenge to large teams of players that aren't privy to the strategy required to beat the stage.
    • You know how Mining Base Defense: Despair is hard? Meet it's final form; Mining Base Defense: Ending. Cooperation, efficiency, and prioritization wont just cut it here. You need damage to even clear the waves in a timely manner, let alone before time runs out for each wave. Additional pain comes in the form of the Falspawn having their own A.I.S.s, which will use their own photon particle cannons to destroy the mining bases at almost the same time if not dealt with. And that's not even going into Dark Falz Apprentice themselves.
    • One of the two Quests that stand between a player and the Expert Matching option is Solo Training: Phanatical Phantoms. If you thought you've seen tests of might and mettle before, then Phanatical is a truer test. Phanatical brings together a Boss Rush of powerful foes together in one Quest designed to push the limits of your skill, strategy, and strength: That One Boss Deus Hunar, Lightning Bruiser Demon Phaleg, a triad of Chrome Dragon, Apprentice Clone, and Falz Angel, and the Mighty Glacier Omega Hunar. There's a reason this Quest is one of the requirements for Expert, because this is proving grounds.
    • Mining Bases in general are considered extremely miserable to pug in the Global version by a vast majority of players. Because of the lack of Expert, there is no visible distinction between poorly-geared and poorly-skilled players and players that are kitted and know what they're doing until you check their gear, and the game doesn't really care either. The end result is that in a quest notorious for its slim margin of error, the odds of getting a group of players competent enough to finish is so slim that many players simply don't bother and resort to pre-made groups only or just don't play Mining Bases at all. This also extends to Omega Apprentice, which runs on the same principle.
    • VR Volcano in Battle Arena is considered the most difficult of the three maps; the area where Rainbow Emblems spawn is a very confined space in the center of the map that is only accessible via two ledges, one on both sides of the map, until the last 1:20 when the lava rises to bring the side platforms up to a level where you can access the center. These ledges effectively function as chokepoints that bottleneck anyone trying to access it, preventing players from running around the map to backstab the enemy team without first being spotted and mowed down by their opponents. This makes it very difficult to come back from a losing round unless your team suddenly musters the manpower to Total Party Kill the enemy team in a full-frontal assault and maintain control of the central zone for the rest of the match, which is hard to do in and of itself.
    • Mining Base Defense: VR, an upgraded form of the limited-time Necky's Challenge EQ, takes the otherwise rather mundane Mining Base Defense: Invasion and swaps out most of the Falspawn with other enemy types. Those enemies tend to be much harder to deal with than just regular Falspawn, and not being Light weak really hurts some classes, especially Bouncer. Several features such as turrets and purification are also removed just to make your life harder.
  • That One Player:
    • Decent Battle Arena play with any of the good weapons that have spammy attacks can easily lock down the opposing team to a point where they are unable to do much of anything useful. Special mention goes to Rod, Twin Machineguns, and Dual Blades, weapons that are extremely difficult to counterplay if played competently.
    • There used to be some level of resentment against Gunner mains prior to a rebalance due to their (former) Game-Breaker status.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Fans lamented that neither Zeno nor Itsuki, both canonically Gunblade users, did not become the Trainer for the Luster class, whose Weapon of Choice is the Gunblade.
    • In general, this is the painful status of a good 80% or so of the cast after EPISODE 3. Zeno and Echo lose relevance after their personal arcs in EPISODE 2 despite being leading characters previously, Afin's status as the Number Two to the protagonist nosedives once Euclyta's plot is resolved (enough so that Episode Oracle goes out of its way to give him a large Adaptation Expansion) in favor of Matoi taking up the position, and basically almost everyone else is either a rare appearance in a blue moon or downright Demoted to Extra in favor of newer characters. EPISODE 6 attempts to mend this problem somewhat, but then it faced its own problems listed below.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Challenge Quest (a Call-Back to the original PSO's Challenge Mode) is conceptually very appealing and remains a decent challenge, but not having a content update after 2015 and having no shop updates in the Japanese version put a nail on the coffin for the mode.
    • The first half of EPISODE 6 is spent dealing with an Invincible Villain that the cast can barely escape, much less try to stand their own against. There's a constant need for a Big Damn Heroes because of the constant losses, and Xiao even temporarily gets killed off. And then, due to the episode having to be divided in two for various reasons, a solution basically crops up out of convenience, using Sukunahime's ash powers to be able to circumvent Shiva's immunity to the hero's photons, as the second half of the episode suddenly rushes towards a final confrontation and showdown without any time to really develop or further dwell on the whole arc's ideas and barely even developing the villain either. With this being the end of the game's main story line, given Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis's announcement, a lot of fans felt a fair amount more could've been done with the missing build up.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Gunner is infamous for being subject to both ends of the scale for this trope. Gunner is meant to be a combo-oriented class with a focus on bossing by using their key Active "Chain Trigger" to inflict huge burst damage. This wasn't a problem on release, but in EPISODE 2, the skill "S-Roll JA Bonus" was introduced, which gave a 4x bonus for performing a Just Attack off a Stylish Roll, making Gunner a Game-Breaker due to its disproportionately massive burst power. Come EPISODE 3, the skill was nerfed, sending Gunner into bottom-tier territory due to its sudden lack of power, and it spent the next two Episodes climbing back to mid-tier territory. However, EPISODE 5 re-balanced Chain Trigger by making it much easier to handle and giving Gunner the power to fire Chain again if performed correctly, bumping it to top tier in bossing. Then the Skill "Another S-Roll Arts Mode" was released, which gives Gunner what effectively amounts to shotgun blasts that hit all mobs in a wide cone in front of them for heavy damage three times for practically free, launching Gunner back into Game-Breaker territory. A balance patch later nerfed Another S-Roll Arts Mode (as well as the Orgei Rancor, a weapon that also made Shift Period a Game-Breaker); combined with buffs to other classes, Gunner has been reined back to "merely" top-tier, where its main competition lies with Successors.
    • Hero as well went both ways. On release, their superior power, range and speed made them nigh-unstoppable compared to other classes, causing widespread resentment and forcing SEGA to heavily buff the normal classes to keep up. However, come EPISODE 6, which prominently features fast and hard-hitting enemies, their core skill Hero Boost became a major flaw, as it's the class's main source of damage and would disappear instantly if the player got grazed by any attack. Hero Boost saw multiple buffs over the course of the Episode to prevent it from falling behind the other Successors (including buffing the damage multiplier, making the penalty more forgiving, and allowing players to regain a large chunk of Boost instantly with a successful counter.)
    • Katana is also a victim of going both ways. Once considered mediocre on release, tools like Shunka Shunran and Guren Tessen made Katana effectively top tier for comparatively lower effort than other classes. Following the EPISODE 5 nerf update, Katana remained only slightly less dominant, but began to show its age in EPISODE 6 after experiencing no meaningful buffs compared to other weapons, making them significantly less equipped to deal with later content. A major overhaul of Katana Gear put Katana back on the map, and it now remains highly competitive with other weapons.
    • Major nerfs at the start of EPISODE 5 severely crippled Bullet Bow, but subsequent buffs have made the weapon the epitome of Difficult, but Awesome, capable of doing top-tier damage with the proper skill and in the right situations.
    • Poor, poor Phantom Katana. Possibly the definition of Awesome, but Impractical as a weapon, PH Katana boasts many strengths on paper: it has excellent mobility, has great burst, and wields the strongest Marker Detonate among the three weapons. The sad part is that after this, Katana is an excessively flawed weapon; its PP economy is notoriously bad, its mobility tools eat into your DPS because of how slow they are to execute, your best DPS combo is spamming the same PA over and over and only works on stationary targets, and doing anything else for DPS fumbles up your positioning and is just inherently worse. Not to mention that it is the only one of Phantom's three weapons that has almost no dedicated mobbing tools in any capacity, and the tools it does have are miserably inferior to anything Rod or Rifle can do.
    • Fighter is supposed to be the epitome of the Glass Cannon, pumping out unrivaled DPS in exchange for being a hairs-breadth away from death... in theory. In-practice, Fighter's skillset has shown the most age out of all of the six basic classes. Ever since Episode 4, bosses have been getting more and more aggressive, and Fighters are prone to eating dirt from offscreen lasers, being overwhelmed by mobs, and extremely fast attack patterns that Fighters have no defense against. In addition, their abysmal attack range and rigid attack animations makes it difficult to even hit bosses like Omega Masquerade or Phaleg, and the former had to get patched to make Fighter at least playable. Even then, its Glass Cannon niche has been largely overtaken by the Scion Classes, which are able to pump out similar levels of DPS but with far more flair, mobility, versatility, and utility than Fighter could ever hope to achieve. That said, it's perfectly possible to be effective as Fighter, but it will take a lot more effort than the other classes.
    • The Bouncer class eventually fell into this by EPISODE 6. What's supposed to be a Jack-of-All-Trades that can use techniques and lay down the physical offensive ended up a Master of None to a fault, with their technique usage and damage output ultimately being incredibly subpar compared to more dedicated classes. The strongest move in their kit, the Jetsweep Kick for Jet Boots, is also the slowest and simply not efficient enough to use in the late game's faster fights, unless you have a Serpen Plenzer that drastically speeds it up - but it was left in the dust as a middling 15★ with no Ultimate Potential upgrade even compared to the Dual Blades' Jupiter Tullus, which meant that using better gear for better damage made the attack almost useless again. And the Dual Blades themselves lack the overall DPS to catch up with other classes as well as clunky attacks that make the Hunter look smooth by comparison. With few major changes and updates to improve them over the game's lifespan, Bouncers ended up a mediocre tier scrappy.
  • Tough Act to Follow: EPISODE 3 is widely considered one of the most successful expansions for the game. This worked up a lot of expectations for EPISODE 4, but proved to be very divisive at best.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Crafting was added in EPISODE 2 as a way to put weaker equipment to use by allowing one to apply fixed stats to a piece of gear, enabling them to upgrade their gear to stats beyond their normal limits at the cost of damage variance limits on weapons and hidden stats on Units. Between 2016 and 2019, the core Crafting system was essentially killed off due to the introduction of New Type weapons and 12★ Units, neither of which supported the feature, and what did exist was not updated to keep pace with power creep. Crafting would finally see an update in August 2019, which added 13★ and NT weapon support for the Crafting system.
  • Unexpected Character: Or rather, Unexpected Collaboration. Many fans were convinced that the NA release wouldn't get any of the anime-based collaborations due to various reasons. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise when the KonoSuba collab was announced.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Kyokuya's treatment towards Lukot comes as this for some players. While his 'edgy' antics are usually Played for Laughs, his attitude on her during their reunion is far too rude and aggresive, even if one takes account their tragic backstory and him considering her as a traitor. When Lukot tries to apologize by baking cookies like she used to, he slaps the cookies basket from her hand. And when he attempts to search for the truth, he uses Stratos and lies to her to find and attack Lukot. Had the player not intervened, Kyokuya would've hurt or even killed Lukot before getting any ounch of truth from her. Worse, he has the audacity to claim his acts as the 'act of hospitality', despite him being nothing but hostile to her, and refuses to apologize. Kyokuya may mean well to break Lukot's shell and make her open up, but his actions are unnecessarily violent and offensive.
    • To make matters worse, the game actually tries to present Kyokuya on the right side and Lukot on the wrong, seeing as Lukot is hesitant to tell the truth, and doesn't trust her friends enough to do so, with Kyokuya fighting his way to force Lukot to open up. However, many players argue that Kyokuya's actions of slapping Lukot's cookies and attacking her is way too much even for an edgy character like him.
    • During their battle, Kyokuya preaches about trust in friends to Lukot. However, he used to brand her as a traitor without clear evidence. And earlier, he lied to Stratos and abused her trust to find Lukot. These only makes Kyokuya look like a hypocrite, and no one calls him out after that.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Huey isn't particularly liked in-universe, but the fans adore him.
    • Margaretta in-universe is seen as a queen only in name who is pretty much a brat half the time and is very self-obsessed. Players like Margaretta for being the Plucky Comic Relief in a plot that otherwise takes itself quite seriously as well as being the perfect Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. Case in point, she won a General Election!
  • Values Dissonance: A major reason why Episode 4's bath scenes were censored or otherwise removed in the Global release. In Japan, public bathing is seen less in a sexual light and more innocently than in the West, and sexual humor is similarly played more for humor emphasizing a lack of sexuality, rather than to sexualize the characters. Similarly, the height slider's change to make the minimum height of Global characters to be a solid foot and change taller than their Japanese counterpart is due to the differing attitudes regarding young looking characters. In Japan, short characters are generally regarded as 'cute', while in the West, young looking characters can often be seen as Pedophile bait.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: There are enough makeup items and feminine-looking outfits for men (as well as masculine-looking clothing for women) that this can be invoked by the players.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Phantasy Star Online 2 originally had a CERO C rating (Ages 15+) due to the heavy fanservice. This was eventually changed to CERO D in Spring 2020. The North American, later global version was initially given a T rating by an international rating organization the ESRB is a member of but when the ESRB rated the game themselves, it was likewise given an M rating. This being in pure spite of such censorship as the height slider getting restricted, auxiliaries being made slightly taller, innerwear getting restricted for basewear that shows a considerable amount of skin and the three bath scenes from Episode 4 being cut.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?:
    • The Phantasms that appear in Tokyo are extremely surreal, even by franchise standards, which says something when the field they appear in is supposed to be on Earth.
    • The plot of Episode 4 kicks off with several Mind Screw elements, such as Phantasy Star Online 2, the aforementioned Phantoms, PSO2 being used as a interdimensional gateway, Digital Avatars that aren't actually digital to begin with and are controlled by PSO2 players, etc. Many players are convinced that the writers must've been smoking something illegal when they came up with this.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • While not met with complete enthusiasm, the EPISODE 5 reveal had much better reception in the West, partly because it's coming off the heels of the very contentious EPISODE 4, partly because of the reveal of the very stylish Hero class.
    • After two Episodes of contentious design decisions and bizarre Genre Shifts, the reveal of EPISODE 6 was met with strong positive reactions from the playerbase due to the return to the iconic Science Fantasy elements of the series, as well as the new Phantom class, quality of life enhancements, and an explosive space battle-themed raid complete with space battleship fights and space mecha battles.
    • After being thought long forgotten or cancelled, the game's Western release was confirmed to be back on track by Microsoft at E3 2019. Furthermore, those who were concerned about the subpar localizations of the original PSO and Universe would have their concerns put to rest, as Microsoft also confirmed that all of the content in the Japanese version up to the North American version's release would be brought over. The announcement also proved popular with those who were previously burned by AsiaSoft's SEA localization.
  • Woolseyism:
  • The actual names for the Extreme Quests are fairly bland; it's usually a combination of two area names, such as "Forest and Sanctum". The English fan translation got creative with it and used fancier sounding titles, such as "Sylvan Wyverns".
  • Harukotan's "White Territory" and "Black Territory" (which are otherwise very mundane-sounding) are named the more civilization-established "Shironia" and "Kuron" respectively in the English fan translations. Western players have widely accepted these names. The official English translation also spices the names up, though in a different manner, dubbing the two areas the "Daybreak Province" and "Nightfall Province".
  • Due to オフスティア having no directly-translatable English word, fan translators simply called it "Austere", a similar-sounding word. The official translation opted for a more direct translation with "Ophistia".
  • Many Emergency Quest names are typically shortened down in the English translation by using more concise wording, due to the fact that the original names in Japanese tend to be very long.
  • The names of S-Grade Augments tend to be overly literal in the original Japanese; for example, the name of the Ability granted by the weapon Atlas Farder translates exactly to "instant guard recover light", whose effect is Exactly What It Says on the Tin (recover PP when Just Guarding). Both the Fan Translation and official translation (although more literal than the former) give them more proper names while sticking close to the original translation.
  • The official North American version renames the Darkers to "Falspawn", which fits like a glove because of their connection to Dark Falz, and sounds a lot more threatening.
  • In Japanese, each Dark Falz has both a kanji name and a katakana name. They are always referred to by their katakana name in voiced dialogue, but when referring to the specific Dark Falz the kanji name is used in text with the katakana pronunciation over it. The official English version consolidates the two by strapping the kanji's translation to the Falz's proper name as a title, i.e. "Elder the Gargantuan".
  • The Matter Board, an item Xion hands you to change the future, is renamed the fancier and more indicative "Divergence Matrix".
  • The name of Jet Boots' fourth PA is spelled ヴィントジーカー, which is basically nigh-incomprehensible in English. The Fan Translation did their best to come up with something close to the original spelling, which ended up as "Vinto Gigue", while the official translation sidestepped the problem completely by renaming it to "Jetsweep Kick".
  • The Hero PAs that change weapons were originally called "X of Y", which is pretty Engrishy; the Fan Translation decided to omit the "of", while the official translation combined the "X" and the "Y" and ((in some cases) added the word "Gambit", thus making names like "Trickflash" and "Sleightshot Gambit".
  • The final boss being referred to as the Primordial Darkness in the Fan Translation is itself a Woolseyism; in the original Japanese, the cast simply refers to it as "the original form of the Profound Darkness" rather than a unique name, while its kanji name simply translates to "origin of darkness". The official English translation even sticks with this name.
  • Glass, the first "super" Pet, is named after its glasses but is also a pun on "grass". Since this style of wordplay would be Lost in Translation, the official translation renamed it to "Herbie", which preserves the "grass" pun with the word "herb" instead. Although depending on the viewer naming anything "Herbie" could be pretty Narm.
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