MMO and MMORPG: History of Phantasy Star Online
Mmo, Mmorpg, Phantasy Star Online
by Joshua Temblett, Onrpg Writer
The Dreamcast started off as a shiny beam of hope for its developer Sega; however the light gradually faded on the new console as Sony’s latest demon (the PS2) began to walk over the horizon and straight towards the little box of gold that was Sega’s new console. Whilst the Dreamcast may not have lasted very long in the gaming world, it played host to a huge variety of mind blowing games and the console definitely made huge steps that not only defined console gaming but also helped to kick it out of the door into the beauty that was "next gen".
So to say there were no good games for the Dreamcast not only shows sheer incompetence as a gamer but also a lack of history and knowledge about gaming. "Jet Set Radio", "Shenmue", "Powerstone", "Chu Chu Rocket" and "Skies of Arcadia" are but a few of the games you should know about should you take your hobby seriously. There was one title however that stood out among the rest. This was Phantasy Star Online. PSO was Sonic Team’s first attempt at an online RPG, and to say the least, they succeeded. Whilst the gameplay did have some issues and bugs (then again, what Sonic Team game does not have bugs?), the concept and the design were more than enough to get this game off shelves and into people’s homes.
Phantasy Star Online had three classes, these being Hunter, Ranger and Force. The title also had a wealth of customisation options and not to mention a whole host of cool weaponry to play about with. The game focused on player versus environment (PVE) and required the player to team up with three other likeminded gamers to fight back the monsters of Ragol and to get to the bosses and eventually defeat them in order to complete the strangely compelling storyline. This title was indeed a hit as it boasted a chat translation system (to break down the language barriers), a simple way to connect up online and of course free online gameplay.
Despite its success the game did have some negative points which reviewers quickly caught onto. Most of these problems only related to the offline mode available in the game, as the dungeons become quickly repetitive and that the quests were generally very boring. However most reviewers said that these problems seemed to disappear during online play due to how incredibly fun the game was online. The game’s success was no doubt going to spawn some sort of sequel, and hence Phantasy Star Online: Version 2 enters the lime light.
This new title was an update of the original which featured an easier offline experience with easier levelling up, a new security system in an attempt to stop hackers, some new content, a new level cap, some other tweaks and of course the ever infamous pay to play charge.
Whilst the original version was free to play, Version 2 bought about a monthly charge of $15 per month (...)
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