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Phantasy Star Series PSO Memories v.2 :: Phantasy Star Online Memorial
Shinobi December 6, 2001 | PSO Memories v.2
     > As expected, my first PSO Memories article has been graced with rave reviews.  Not only has it refreshed my memories of "the realm", but those who have read it as well.  I'm ready for some more, how about you?  Let's roll baby...

     > Although I had been playing the Japanese version of PSO since mid December 2000, I was in no way prepared for the online experience which was about to begin...  January 31, 2001.  A date which I shall never forget.  Based on Sega's magazine advertising, many Dreamcast gamers were asking themselves, "Do you have what it takes to be a hero?"  I was at Babbage's in time for their UPS delivery of Sega's latest gift to the hardcore gaming community in America.  An entirely new era in replayability was about to begin...  A whole new world was in our future...  Phantasy Star Online was unleashed!

     > ~Playing with gods~  Within the first month of online gaming, I met a Lv42 HUnewearl named Ecstasy.  She proclaimed herself to be a "god" in PSO.  I believed it since I was a weak FOnewm named Necromancer, who was only around Lv18.  We chatted in the lobby of Ariel 10, and exchanged cards when she proposed we begin a game.  While in the game, two more of Ecstasy's friends joined and we chatted by the Check Room for a bit.  All of the sudden, one of her friends started dropping money everywhere!  Ecstasy told me to pick one up so I did.  Then I realized that each one of those meseta packets had 999,999 in them!!  I was like, where did you get all that %#@$&%$ money?!  No one would tell me, but I knew there had to be some code or trick to it.  I begged them to tell me how this was done, but they would not budge.  Of course, now I know her friend had to be one of the first PSO hackers -- most likely a Game Shark user.  Oh well, after that, I never had to worry about money again. =)  I continued to see Ecstasy on an occasional basis until early Summer, when she disappeared from PSO.

     > ~The quest for Geist and Demon's Rayguns~  Being a Force means relying on Techniques to gain experience points.  That's not necessarily bad, as I really enjoy wielding magic.  However, I was always in search of the best handgun I could find, which is the safest way for Force characters to engage the enemy.  One day, Akuto, Lucero and me went through the mines on VHARD.  Vol Opt was short circuited and Akuto found a "???? Raygun".  He tekked it as a Demon's Raygun, which has the most powerful potential attack you can get in a non rare handgun.  It has the ability to cut an enemy's HP to 1/4 in a single hit!  Since Akuto preferred Rifles and Spreads, he offered the Demon's Raygun to me, and I graciously accepted.  I used it often, and immediately became enthralled with it's vast abilities (for a handgun anyway).  At some point thereafter, I found the most highly valued Force handgun -- a Geist Raygun!  Why is it so important?  Simple.  Its special attack steals 6% of the user's TP, and adds that value to your TP.  This translates into rarely, if ever, needing to go shopping for fluids!  Obviously a Force wielding a Geist Raygun has unstoppable technique usage at his/her disposal.  =)  But the joy would be tempered with a new, unknown enemy...

     > One day I was in an open game with Lucero and two new players.  We were fighting De Rol Le and he shot me with his energy orbs, which easily killed my Force.  Unfortunately for me, this was my first experience with what became known as BSOD/FSOD (black/frozen screen of death) -- the NEW enemy of many PSO players.  I died and was unable to pick my weapon up!  A few seconds later the screen went black and the game appeared to crash (and it did)!!!  I turned the power off and restarted, not thinking much of the occurrence.  When I got back into the game and checked my inventory, the Demon's Raygun was still gone.  I asked Lucero and the other two guys if they picked it up, and they said there was nothing there!  My prized possession was gone forever, along with everything else I didn't have equipped at the time.  =(  This was only the beginning, as I would eventually lose at least three more all important Rayguns to BSOD, including a highly sought after Geist Raygun.  It would be a long time before I found another Geist and Demon's Rayguns.  Sure I would occasionally find the lesser Heart, Mind, Soul, and Devil's Rayguns, but they could not replace what I had lost.  This was the source of much frustration, and eventually led to my purchase of a Game Shark...

     > ~Psychology at its best~  Once I got in the Lv70's with Necromancer, I was ready for a new character.  After all, we all know Force characters can't attack or defend worth $&!#.  For crying out loud, when I finally got to VHARD at Lv40, I was lucky to do 75 points damage with a hard attack!  After some thorough consideration, I came up with the idea to create a babe.  Thanks in part to Temptress' influence, I decided on the name Seductress.  Since I wanted to make a babe, a HUnewearl was the only real character class available.  Next, I needed a "look" that could live up to the name, and future reputation!  LOL.  I remembered a hot HUnni a played with a few times named Valentine.  She wore the red outfit with long, sandy brown hair.  That was it!  Seductress got the red clothes with long wavy blonde hair (to match my wife's).  Squall thought I was weird for creating a babe.  That is until I explained part of the reason behind it.  You see, since I never found anything really good, and didn't have a Game Shark (yet), I needed to have a way to get sweet weapons.  I figured Seductress could easily convince other gamers that a few weapons were disposable from their inventory!  =)  Squall, Lucero, and me played it up, and it worked big time!!

     > Actually, Seductress soon became my favorite character, as I had a lot of fun role playing with her.  For instance, I would warp into a crowded lobby and almost instantly be bombarded with cards!  LOL.  I loved the attention.  Some guys would invariably assume I was a woman, even though I would gladly set them straight whenever they asked.   There was one guy (a short HUmar) that kept interrupting Squall and me while chatting in a lobby.  I finally got pissed and said, "buzz off shrimp, before I waste you!!"  LMAO.  That wasn't all I liked about HUnni's.  I soon discovered that their combination of attack, defense, evasion, techniques, and sheer speed was perfect!  Give me a DOUBLE SABER and a God/Battle, and I could go through Forest to Falz without shopping!!  In the early days, I could often be quoted as asking, "did I ever tell you?"  To which Lucero would bite, hook, line, and sinker, "what???"  And I would reply, "HUnewearls ROCK!!"  ^_*

     > ~My first experience with the power of Heaven~  Lucero and I were in an open game playing through the caves at the time.  A RAcaseal, whose name escapes me, joined the game and we piped her down.  Everything was going along normally until I noticed that every now and then a mysterious rain of death would come from the heavens.  Neither one of us had any idea who was doing it, or where it was coming from.  Monsters would cower before the purple rays of certain death which seemed to emanate from the skies above.  The RAcaseal was wielding what appeared to be a mere handgun.  I finally asked her what she was using, and she replied, "a HEAVEN PUNISHER".  I asked if it was the source of this amazing attack, which was similar to one of Dark Falz's, and she confirmed it.  Both Lucero and me were astonished that such a harmless looking handgun could unleash such heavenly punishment!  We set out to acquire this immense power...

     > Within a week's time, I ran into someone that was willing to trade his HEAVEN PUNISHER.  I honestly can't remember what I gave him for it, but I do remember that it wasn't worth much.  Obviously since I was using Seductress, that had a role to play in the transaction.  =)  He had nothing to lose anyway, because I'm sure he either made that weapon, or knew someone that could.  There was only one problem...  My two current characters (Necromancer and Seductress) were unable to equip this Ranger-only weapon.  But I knew who could -- my best PSO friend, Lucero!  The next time I saw him, he was presented with a gift from heaven.  We played through the forest and.... NOTHING!!!  The HEAVEN PUNISHER did not punish!!!  Now, I remembered the guy who traded it to me said it would only work at certain times, which I didn't really comprehend.  I was beginning to wonder if this was a hacked weapon without the main ingredients.  LOL.  Anyway, we kept trying and eventually realized that it only worked on alternate even 100 PSO time beats.  At this point, I needed a new character -- a Ranger!  I came up with the name Synbios (Japanese spelling), which I got from the main hero of Shining Force III ~Scenario 1~.  This new RAmar dressed in the red outfit with brown hair became my third character.  Thanks to Seductress' influence, we easily acquired another HEAVEN PUNISHER.  Lucero and I spent many nights in anticipation, then execution of duel punishment from above!!!

     > ~Spreading misery made it fair~  At this time, early Spring, Game Shark created weapons were still relatively new in the realm.  Being RAmars with relatively weak defense, Lucero and Synbios (me) weren't exactly able to waltz through the ruins on our own in VHARD.  We saw a new weapon though, which had no problem cutting down the enemy.  Akuto was the first player I knew to acquire a SPREAD NEEDLE.  He often asked if it bothered me when he used it, to which I always replied "no".  I never understood his concern over the matter, and he never understood why I was so "stupid".  You see, he thought using a SPREAD NEEDLE kept me from getting experience.  I knew that all I needed to do was damage the enemy, and I would still receive experience for their death.  Once I explained this to him, he felt much better.  Anyway, Lucero had a friend (whose name escapes me) with extra SPREADS (duped, I'm sure).  We joined his game and he dropped two SPREADS -- one for Lucero and one for Synbios.  The only % on the weapon was a -15% for Altered Beasts.

     > From that point on, we had no trouble leveling, and making a lot of people angry at us, especially since most people didn't seem to know why techniques were useful.  LMAO.  Playing as Necromancer, I preferred that at least one person use a SPREAD in the ruins to paralyze the enemies.  This made it easy to tech and pick them off with a Raygun.  Also, when we (as Lucero and Synbios) reached the once dreaded ruins, Delsabers, Chaos Sorcerers, and the like would be dealt with quickly and efficiently!  Fear of the Dark became confidence in the Dark!  On the other hand, surviving Dark Falz's swipe was a whole different story.  But we agreed that SPREAD NEEDLES made VHARD difficulty fair for weak characters!  =)

     > ~PSO is contagious~  By late Spring, I was off the road again and able to spend some more time on PSO.  We had two TV's in our family room so that I could play PSO, and my wife could watch TV.  She saw how much fun I was having and decided that we needed another Dreamcast, keyboard, PSO game, and ISP.  Mind you, my wife has never played videogames, nor been interested in them at all.  We bought all that and I made a voluptuous Lv100 HUnewearl named Angel for her using my recently purchased Game Shark.  Of course I supplied her with all the necessary weapons, armor, and units she would need to survive in the realm.  Next, a crash course in PSO control, which was enough to drive me (the perfectionist) $%*&@%$ crazy!!  Anyway, she eventually learned enough to join us and live Sega's online dream.  Even at Lv100, she died often (like most women -- LOL/JK), and got lost a lot.  =)  Although she didn't play very long (a few weeks), it was quite an achievement for me to get her into playing a videogame.  Angel still exists on my wife's Dreamcast and VMU, but I rarely have the occasion to use her.  We were the first simultaneous husband and wife PSO team that I know of.  As you know, Paladin and Bambie also fit that description, except they're team still exists on a nightly basis...

     > You know, as much as I've written about PSO in these first two articles, it truly only scratches the surface of my entire experience in "the realm".  I don't know if this experience can ever be surpassed by a future game, but one thing is for sure:  Sonic Team's achievement will always have a special place in my memory and heart.  If you haven't been touched by Sega's dream, then you have missed a hardcore gamer's delight which is unparalleled...

Good Gaming,

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