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Phantasy Star Online V2 Dreamcast/Flycast Getting Online in 202X Guide

Last Updated: 3/10/2021 by Old Kid & Turing, Special thanks to XeroTheHero and the many folks of the PSO Community that put up with my never-ending questions.


Discord

Hang out and meet up with other Dreamcast / PSO fans on Discord:
Sylverant Server Discord Invite: https://discord.com/invite/R2ATFFm
Dreamcast-Talk.com Discord Invite: https://discord.com/invite/ZzyQB7r
Dreamcast Online Discord Invite: https://discord.gg/QG67CuMQ


Phantasy Star Online V2 - Online Tutorial

Intro

SNAK

"Shared SNAK" Keys

Registered SNAKs

Sylverant Server

Registering Your SNAK on Sylverant

Registering your SNAK on Dreamcast/PSO

Resetting an "Unchangeable" Dreamcast SNAK Serial Number
Entering Your SNAK on PSO
Playing Online (Original Hardware)

Connecting To Sylverant

Ives' Pack Version Differences

PAL with Ives' Pack

Ship Select in Sylverant

Sil Dragon Bug

Additional PSOV2 Patches

Guild Cards

Sylverant In-Game Server Commands

Optical Drive Emulators

Phantasy Star Online V2 (US Version) Manual


Flycast - PC

Setting Up Flycast

Flycast Controller Configuration

Remapping The Menu Button

Controller Drift in Flycast
Additional Flycast Configuration and Optional Settings

Launching "Ives's Pack" PSOV2 From Flycast

Final Notes About Flycast


Flycast - Android

Flycast for Android

Downloading Flycast for Android

Downloading Flud and ZArchiver (Android)

Downloading Ives' Pack PSOV2 Torrent (Android)

Flycast File Management with ZArchiver (Android)

Configuring Flycast (Android)


Phantasy Star Online V2 Gameplay Information

Phantasy Star Online V2: Basics For Beginners


TL;DR Online Guide

TL;DR: Getting Online Quick Guide


Misc

Work in Progress / To Do

Final Thoughts












Intro

Phantasy Star Online is a MMO that was released in the year 2000 and still has a small and dedicated group of players. Thanks to the Sylverant server, players from both the Dreamcast and PC can still connect and play together in 202X. Although the PC version seems to be preferred in the PSO community, I have not had much luck with it. It runs in an odd resolution, and I cannot alt-tab without crashing.


I will continue to work on these problems, but in the meantime, this guide focuses on getting online with the original Sega Dreamcast and DreamPi, as well as using the Flycast emulator on your PC. I will cover the US-NTSC Dreamcast version of the games here, though most of the information should apply to the PAL and Japanese versions as well.


I will include a TL;DR at the bottom of this tutorial for those looking for a quick and dirty list of requirements to get online, but please read the whole guide as there are many details you may not want to miss out on.


Both Dreamcast and Flycast solutions require a copy of Phantasy Star Online V2 with the unique "SNAK" code inside the jewel case. What is a SNAK?


SNAK

SNAK is a shorthand for Serial Number / Access Key. It is a unique pair of numbers that came with every Dreamcast copy of PSO. The SNAK was printed on a sticker located inside the jewel case underneath the disc. When you are searching for a secondhand copy of PSO, make sure the SNAK sticker is in place! I have personally seen an otherwise well-preserved copy of the game without the sticker.


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A SNAK is required for online and offline play!


"Shared SNAK" Keys 

If you want to play and do not have a SNAK with your disc,
you can use the following "Shared Keys":


PSOV2 NTSC Serial Number: 4E62F237
PSOV2 NTSC
Access Key: oWur4WJg

PSOV2 PAL Serial Number: E4367CA4
PSOV2 PAL Access Key: 5YWXZG3D


Note that you need to match your copy of PSO's region with the corresponding region of SNAK. These keys were borrowed from a list of "Shared SNAKs" found here.


Do not attempt to register this or any "Shared" SNAKs on Sylverant! (more on this later).


Registered SNAKs

Shared SNAKs have limitations. With a shared key, you do not have access to server special events, and do not have a protected Guild Card. A guild card is the server's unique ID of your copy of the game.


If you don't have one already, grab a copy of the game at your local retro game store and register your SNAK!


With a Sylverant-registered SNAK, your guild card number will follow you no matter what Dreamcast you play on (if you use the same SNAK to log in). A registered account will also have server-side automatic character backups, which saves your progress in case something happens to your VMU data. Also, registering makes it possible to see messages sent to your Guild Card while offline via the Sylverant Website.


Sylverant Server

Sylverant Server is replacement for the original, now-defunct SEGA Phantasy Star Online server. I salute the many talented and hard working folks that made it possible to keep online Dreamcast gaming alive!


You can read more about Sylverant here.


Thanks to Sylverant, PC and Dreamcast PSOV2 users can play together online. Sylverant also supports connections with the Gamecube version of PSO. All supported versions can meet and chat in the lobby, although due to version incompatibilities Gamecube players cannot form teams and play with PC and DC players.


This guide only outlines the Dreamcast and Emulated Dreamcast (Flycast), but if anyone wants to contribute, I would love help expanding to include the PC and Gamecube specifics.


Registering Your SNAK on Sylverant

It is not required, but creating a Sylverant Account and logging your SNAK is a good idea to protect your access to the server, as well as getting the perks outlined in the Registered SNAKs section above.


To register your SNAK, head to the Sylverant Account Management page and create an account if you don't already have one.


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Click on the "New User?" link and follow the instructions on the "Create New Account" page to register and link to an email address. Once you have an account, go back to the Account Management page and login.

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Once logged in, click the "Manage your Guildcards" link.

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At the top of the page, you will find the "Register a new Dreamcast Serial Number and Access Key" link. Click the link and enter your SNAK information.

Note: This guide is assuming you have not been online on Sylverant with this SNAK before. If you have, follow the instructions after clicking "Associate an existing Dreamcast guildcard with your account".


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It's worth repeating the rules:

DO NOT attempt to register any "shared serials" with this system. Doing so is against the rules of the server and may result in a permanent ban from the server when you are caught.
By registering a serial number access key pair here, you are certifying that you actually own the corresponding copy of the game, and you agree that you will provide proof of ownership if it is requested by the administration of the server.

Now that you're registered in the server, we can boot up the game and get prepped for online play!


Registering your SNAK on Dreamcast/PSO

Now we can enter our SNAK inside the PSOV2 game itself. This process is the same no matter if you are on real or emulated hardware, but I'll get to some Flycast specifics later in the guide.


When you enter your SNAK into your PSO game, it registers an "unchangeable" serial number (the SN part of "SNAK") into your Dreamcast's flash memory. Through this association, Sega was trying to create an ecosystem of "one Dreamcast, one SNAK". This registration also means that when you create a character, that character can only play on the same Dreamcast it was created on.


You can, however, register the same SNAK on multiple Dreamcasts (using different characters), they just cannot be playing online at the same time.


Resetting an "Unchangeable" Dreamcast SNAK Serial Number

What if you have a second-hand Dreamcast that has a missing copy of PSO (that is, a Dreamcast that has a SN registered but you don't have the access key), or you have entered a "shared" key by mistake, or simply want to change what SNAK you are using on your Dreamcast?


Thankfully, there is a Flash Eraser tool that removes the "permanently" associated serial number on your Dreamcast so that you can enter a new one.


You can download the Flash Eraser tool here.


To use it, burn the .CDI, boot it up, and follow the on screen prompts. When you are done, it will blank any information stored in your Dreamcast's flash memory so you can start fresh with your PSO Serial Number registration.


To erase your flash memory in Flycast, simply delete the "dc_nvmem.bin" file located in your c:/flycast/data directory (or the /data directory of wherever you have Flycast installed).


Entering Your SNAK on PSO 

This section also assumes you have never logged in before, and are making a new character. You will need a practically empty VMU to store your character to.


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Press start and select "New Game". Then, the following screen will come up:


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The game telling us an important piece of information here. When you register your SNAK, it is going to be linked to your Dreamcast and any characters created on that Dreamcast. Any characters that are created under a SNAK are permanently linked to that SNAK, and can only be played on the SNAK-registered Dreamcast they were created under. Push A to continue.

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Now we can enter our Serial Number. Fill out the information and press "enter" to continue.

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Now enter your Access Key and press "enter" to continue.

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We have one more chance to review and double check our information. If correct, select "Yes". PSO will save the information to our Dreamcast's flash storage, and then bring us to a VMU selection screen.

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Select a VMU slot you wish to create your new character on, and press A to continue. The opening sequence movie will now play. You can skip the movie with "Start" if you wish.

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We are now at the character select screen. If this is your first time, take a look at Pso Palace's rundown of the races and classes here.

Remember, you can always delete your character and start over if you don't like their play style. Pick a race and class, customize how you like, and give them a name.

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We can now select between Online and Offline modes. PSO works seemlessly as a single-player / multiplayer experience, allowing you to gain levels and items offline and bring them into the online server, and vice-versa. If this is your first time, you might want to play a few hours offline to familiarize yourself with the game and controls before going on quests with other players.

Playing Online (Original Hardware)


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Please see my guide here to get your Dreamcast online with a DreamPi. It is not the only way to connect a Dreamcast to the web in 202X, but in my opinion it is the simplest, cheapest and feature rich. Regardless how you choose to get online, you will have to make some considerations to connect to the Sylverant Server.

Connecting To Sylverant 

To connect to the Sylverant server, it is required to redirect the original PSO software to the current Sylverant server address.

Before you connect to the Sylverant Server, you should explore their website here and take a look specifically at their Server Rules and Privacy Policy.

There are two common methods to do this with the original Dreamcast:

Option 1
is to use a BlueCrab's PSO Loader 2.0. This is a custom boot disc that will redirect your original PSOV2 disc to the Sylverant server.

To use it, you need to burn a copy and load it on your Dreamcast. (For information on how to burn Dreamcast CD-R's, check out my guide here.)


BlueCrab's PSO Loader 2.0 can be downloaded here.

Note that BlueCrab's Loader also bypasses the Dreamcast's region lock, allowing you to boot mismatched PSOV2 and Dreamcast combinations (PAL disc on NTSC hardware, NTSC disc on PAL hardware, etc.) Be aware that you will still need a SNAK that matches the reigon of the to the disc you are using. You can find more about SNAKs here.


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After loading the boot disc, you will be prompted to swap over to your original PSO disc. When the game loads and you go to connect online, the game will connect to the Sylverant Server.


This process must be completed again if your Dreamcast restarts or you power down.


Option 2 is to boot directly into a modded version of PSOV2 known as Phantasy Star Online Ver.2 Aleron Ives Edition 4.0, or "Ives' Pack" for short. This modded version of PSOV2 has enhancements and bug fixes - including online maps that were inaccessible on the original discs, faster loading times, and higher quality music ripped from the Xbox version of PSO.

Ives' Pack is also auto-booting (meaning you can burn it to a CD-R and launch it from your Dreamcast without a boot disc), and will connect to Sylverant automatically. This is perhaps the best "Vanilla" version of PSOV2 to play. This is also my recommended version to play if you want to use the Flycast Emulator.


Read more about the Ives' Pack here.


I cannot provide a direct link to the Ives' Pack, but if you Google "Ives Pack Torrent" you will find what you are looking for.


If the Ives' Pack download you stumble across is a .torrent file, and you will need a torrent client to download. I recommend qBittorrent (download here), but there are many torrent clients out there that will do the job.


Ives' Pack Version Differences

The "PSO_DC_Ives_Pack_v2" Torrent contains 3 separate versions of Phantasy Star Online:


IVES_PSOV1_US.CDI - This is a copy of Phantasy Star Online V1 that has been patched to connect to Sylverant. It is included for completeness, but is not an ideal way to play PSO Online. Most online players are using V2, and some modes of play are not available to V1 users.


More details about Ives' PSOV1 Pack can be found here.


Refer to the PSOV2 Dreamcast Instruction Manual for more details on the differences between PSO V1 and V2.


IVES_PSOV2_US_R2.CDI - This is the "Vanilla" version of the Ives' Pack. It contains the features outlined in Connecting To Sylverant, and is a good way to enjoy PSOV2 online.


More details about the "Vanilla" Ives' Pack can be found here.


IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.CDI - This version is Ives' Enhancement Pack, or EP for short. On top of the improvements featured in the "Vanilla" Ives' Pack, it has tweaked game play elements, including increased frequency/better quality item drops, altered stats and requirements for items, and re-balanced maximum stats for the player classes. The Ives' EP Pack also contains a new Ultimate mode difficulty, dubbed "Ludicrous" Mode.

More details about the Ives' Enhancement Pack can be found here.

Ives' EP
is a good way to start playing PSO V2, with a couple considerations.

Because the Ultimate Difficulty has been cranked to 11 as "Ludicrous" mode, it is not intended for players who have not already completed Ultimate on a "Vanilla" playthrough of the game.

If you want the perks of the increased drop rates and re-balancing found in the EP Pack, consider playing with the EP disc through the Normal, Hard, Very Hard difficulties, then swapping to a "Vanilla" Ives' V2 disc for an Ultimate Difficulty run. Be aware any stats that were "artificially" boosted in your EP run will be brought back to the "Vanilla V2" limits when you switch over. When you are sufficiently leveled up in "Vanilla" Ultimate, you can migrate back over to EP for an added challenge in "Ludicrous" mode.


PAL with Ives' Pack

"Ives' Pack" .CDI releases are region-free and will boot on any Dreamcast that can play burnt discs. However, because the Ives' Pack .CDI's are built on top of a NTSC / US version of the game, there are extra considerations that need to be understood when using your PAL copy of Phantasy Star Online V2 and SNAK to play running an Ives' Pack .CDI.

SNAKs are locked to region. If you are playing on a PAL Dreamcast, you must have a PAL copy of the game and SNAK to initially create a character and get online. Thankfully, characters created with SNAKs are not region locked and can be "moved" to other regions software (with the odd exception of Japanese PSO V1 characters).

To get a PAL Dreamcast and SNAK to boot to an Ives' Disc, you must:

- Register your SNAK on Sylverant (not required but recommended).

- Get on Sylverant. PAL versions of PSOV2 will Connect to Sylverant automatically when using a DreamPi.

- Create a character with your region's Dreamcast and PSOV2 disc and SNAK.

- Go online to Sylverant Server at least one time.

Going online at least once will bypass the serial number and access code check with your saved character, allowing you to swap over to an Ives' Pack disc and connect online without being halted.

The only limitation to this process is that you will have to repeat the steps for every new character you create, as your PAL SNAK will not be accepted to create new characters from the Ives' Pack discs.

If you are on a PAL Dreamcast and do not have a PAL copy of PSOV2 and your own SNAK, you can still play online with an Ives' Pack copy of the game and a "NTSC Shared SNAK".


Ship Select in Sylverant

When you connect to Sylverant, you will be prompted with a choice of ships to join. The ships are effectively different servers run from different sections of the Dreamcast / PSO community. Here is a quick breakdown of the current servers:



Iselia is run by BlueCrab of Sylverant. It is a "Vanilla" server, replicating the setup of the original Sega servers. Gamecube people tend to play here.


Altmira is run by Aleron Ives of Sylverant. It features quests and mods not found in the original Sega servers. This tends to be the ship that most Dreamcast users meet up at.


Vega is a server run by Dreamcast-talk.com.


Palmacosta is a server specifically for Brazilians and Portuguese players. More information on Palmacosta can be found here.


Sil Dragon Bug



On the the subject of choosing a version of PSO to play, there is a known issue when "Vanilla" players and "EP" players are playing together. The bug only occurs under these conditions:


- If an "EP" player is hosting the party, and you have "Vanilla" players in your party.

- You are playing in "Ultimate" Difficulty (which is unlocked at player level 80).

- You are fighting the Sil Dragon at the end of Forest.


If one of the "Vanilla" players attack the dragon, the dragon's HP will reset to full health, effectively making him unbeatable. Fortunately, there is an easy workaround for this - you can have the "Vanilla" players hit the dragon once, then sit the rest of the battle out while the "EP" players finish him off. Doing so will allow the dragon to be defeated and still reward the "Vanilla" players a share of experience points.


Make sure to ask other players in your party what version of PSO they are playing so you can respond accordingly to this bug!


Additional PSOV2 Patches

On top of the features found in the Ives' Pack releases, Dreamcast users have additional patches available to to use with PSOV2.


.CDI Patches
These are patches that modify the game data itself by patching a .CDI before you burn it, load onto your ODE, or boot into it from an emulator. These patches are only compatible with Ives' "Vanilla" V2 or Enhancement Pack .CDI's.


Once patched, the modifications to your .CDI cannot be undone. Make sure you save backup copies of any .CDI files you modify!


The following .CDI Patches are available:


- Gamecube Name Detection Patch:
This patch will cause PSO DC to display the names of PSO Gamecube users in white.

- Sparkle Patch:
This patch repalces the Shifta, Deband, Jellen, and Zalure ring effects with Ver.1-style sparkles. This patch is only available as a .CDI patch.

- Widescreen Patch:
This patch allows you to play the game in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen.



Patch Downloads and more detailed descriptions can be found on PSO Palace here.
Alternate / mirror download links for Gamecube Name Detection, Sparkle, and Widescreen patches.


How To Apply .CDI Patches (Windows):

Download desired patch or patches from PSO Palace here. The patches will download as a zip file, which will include patches for each version of PSO the patch is compatible with. Unzip your patch(es). The files will decompress to .exe executable file.


Run your .exe of choice. Running the .exe will open a window, example seen below:





In the resulting patcher application, ensure that your Target File is the .cdi image of PSO you wish to run the patch against, and the ‘Make a backup when possible’ box is checked.


Select ‘Start’ when ready. The program will proceed with applying the patch. Congratulations, you’ve just patched your copy of Phantasy Star Online! Repeat the process for additional patches you’d like to apply.


macOS and Linux Users:
Because these patches were created as Windows .exe’s, they will not run natively on other operating systems. Fortunately there are common methods of running Windows programs on macOS and Linux. It is outside the scope of this tutorial to get into the details of these options, but here are some links to articles that you can explore to get started:

macOS:

use a Boot Camp Partition or use a Wine Shell.


Linux:

Dual-Boot Windows or use a Wine Shell.


Once you have a method to launch the .EXE's, follow the generic Windows tutorial.


Sylverant "Downloadable" Patches
These are patches that you can activate when you first log into the Sylverant server. Unlike the .CDI patches which permanently modify the game data on your CD, server-side "Downloadable" patches only persist for as long as the console remains powered on. If you power off, you will be required to download your desired patches again.


To activate a Sylverant "Downloadable" Patch, Boot up PSO and log onto Sylverant server.



From the initial menu, choose "Patches".



Select any desired patches from the menu. Once selected, they will download and apply to your current PSO session. The following patches can currently be applied:


- PSOGC Names:
Similar the .CDI patch, this will cause the game to display the names of PSO Gamecube users in cyan.


- Battle Music Patch

The Battle Music server-side patch enables two music tracks otherwise only found in battle mode to be played during the custom 'Aleron Ives' Prospective Horizons' quest.


- Widescreen Patch (Warning!)

Please note that application of the server-side Widescreen patch is NOT advised. While the patch is available as a menu option, it does not function as intended and should be avoided. For proper application of the Widescreen patch, please use the .CDI Patch.


Guild Cards

Guild Cards are effectivley PSO's in-game e-mail address. By sharing your Guild Card # to other users, you can add each other to your "Card List" and use PSO's "Simple Mail" system to send and receive messages. Players do not have to be in-game to receive messages, and will be prompted when they sign in to check their "Simple Mail" if they have any unread messages.

When you register your SNAK on Sylverant, the Sylverant website will show you your unique Guild Card Number. Every character you create with your registered SNAK will be linked to your unique GC#.

While it is unlikely that using Shared SNAKs will result in duplicate Guild Cards, Sylverant Server cannot guarantee and protect a unique guild card number to "Shared SNAK" users.


How to access your guild card in-game:

In an online game, press "Start" to open the start menu. Move down and select the "Chat" selection menu.



From the "Chat" menu, scroll down and select "Guild Card".



From the "Guild Card" menu, select "MY Card".



In the middle window, your character's name, guild card number (my example is "2468"), language, and Section ID.



Sylverant In-Game Server Commands 

Sylverant Server has built-in features that you can take advantage of in-game by typing commands in with your keyboard. The format for these commands is similar to many "console" style command input systems. The general syntax is as follows:

/[server command] [command variable(if applicable)] **press enter to send command**

For a full list of server commands and a description of their functions, please visit the Sylverant Server page for server commands here.


(This section will eventually be expanded. -Old Kid)


Optical Drive Emulators

I haven't personally tested, but many report full compatibility with the GDEmu and MODE optical drive emulators and PSO online play. Refer to your specific device's instructions for loading the image and booting into BlueCrab's PSO Loader 2.0 (then to PSOV2) or for an all-in-one solution use a .CDI from Ives' Pack.


Phantasy Star Online V2 (US Version) Manual

I have a scanned version of my own, personal PSOv2 US Manual here. I intend to copy elements out of it into a "Beginner Player Guide" someday, so I wanted quick access to it as needed.


Setting Up Flycast

A few years back, Flycast, the Sega Dreamcast emulator, included support for online play. This guide covers how to configure a Windows 10 PC running Flycast for optimal Phantasy Star Online V2 play.


All of the same considerations we have covered using a real Dreamcast apply, including needing a unique SNAK, registering on Sylverant, and entering your SNAK on PSO. A bonus of setting up Flycast is that there's no reason you cannot use one SNAK for both your real Dreamcast AND your emulated one, so long as they are are not online at the same time.


To start, we will need a copy of Flycast.


You can download a nightly build of Flycast here.


The links at the top of the page are the latest builds. Grab the Windows x64 download.


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Extract the .zip file to the folder of your choosing. I would keep your directory simple, like c:\flycast, but so long as you know the directory anywhere will work. The zip should contain one .exe file that is the Flycast emulator program. I will use "c:\flycast" as the working folder in the following examples for simplicity's sake.


Before we can launch the emulator, we need to aquire a Dreamcast BIOS file.


Specifically, we need dc_boot.bin.


I cannot link directly to a Dreamcast BIOS file, but a quick google search for "Dreamcast Bios" should turn up something you can use.


When you have sourced a copy of "dc_boot.bin", place the file in your C:\flycast folder.

We will also need an "Ives' Pack" .CDI image for our Flycast online setup.

Refer to the above Connecting To Sylverant section of this guide for information on the "Ives' Packs".

When done, your c:\flycast folder should look something like this:

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Before we first boot the emulator, we need to decide how we want to configure our controls.

Flycast Controller Configuration

To get the most out of PSOV2 with Flycast, I strongly recommend a controller. Not only will this make playing PSO more enjoyable, but it will free up our PC's keyboard for in-game chat and navigating menus.


Flycast works with any controller Windows can connect to, and my tests have had "zero-configuration required" success with PlayStation 4 controllers over the USB, as well as Xbox One controller synced over Bluetooth.


If you do not already have a gamepad to use, I recommend picking up the 8BitDo SN30 Pro USB as it is cheap, well-made and doesn't require special configuration on your PC. It will connect as an "Xbox 360 Controller" in Windows and is compatible with basically everything. 


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You can pick one up on Amazon here.


This guide will assume you have a controller for your PC set up, so we can cover how to configure the game pad / keyboard combo that will work the best with PSO.

With our controller of choice plugged in, launch the Flycast .exe from inside our c:/flycast directory.

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By default, Flycast will launch in a window. Use your mouse to click on the "Settings" option in the top-right of the window. Select the "Controls" tab. We want to change the following settings:

In the Settings / Controls tab:

Dreamcast Devices:
Device A - "Sega Controller" - "Sega VMU" - "Sega VMU"
Device B - "Keyboard"

Physical Devices:
SDL-Keyboard: Port = "None"
SDL-Xbox 360 Controller: Port = "A"


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In the above image I have highlighted the key settings.

In a nutshell, we are telling Flycast to not use the default keyboard control assignments, and that we want our keyboard inputs to simulate a keyboard plugged into Port B, the same as you would with a real Dreamcast. This allows us all the features PSO offered players with keyboards on the Dreamcast, such as keyboard in-game chat and navigating the menus with keyboard commands.

As an aside, some of the more esoteric commands you can enter in PSO with the keyboard are detailed here.

Remapping The Menu Button

By default, Flycast's controller button mappings should be ideal for most games, in my case with the 8BitDo SN30 Pro USB gamepad no further configuration was required for gameplay. However, we have one change that I recommend for PSO online play specifically.

In Flycast, there is a quick menu that can be launched that pauses the game grants access access to disc swapping, save states, and the option menu.

This would normally be a handy feature, but while we are in online play, it is a bad idea to pause or use save states.

Pausing or using save states makes the game client out of sync with the server, and in general can crash the game or possibly corrupt your character data.

I would suggest that you rebind your controller mapping to disable accidental access to the Quick Menu.

We can accomplish this by navigating to the Settings/Controls window and clicking the "Map" button to the right of our SDL Controller (whatever your gamepad is labeled).

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Scroll down a bit and find where the "Menu" button is located. By default, it is going to be mapped to your "Select" button on 8BitDo or PlayStation controllers, or "Map" button on Xbox controllers.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to delete a controller input binding in Flycast, buy we can simply move the button bind to something that won't break our online game, such as "Left Trigger".

Press "Map" next to "Left Trigger", and press the "Select" button on your gamepad before the countdown runs out.

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In the above example, you can see our controller mapping (6) has moved from the "Menu" to "Left Trigger" assignment. This will prevent us from accidentally pausing the game if we press the select button, and also prevents the quick menu from accessing the save state functions of Flycast. We can simply reverse this change for offline play or for playing other games on Flycast.


Controller Drift in Flycast

While it is not currently available in the menu, Flycast has a dead zone feature that can be used to combat controller drift if you are experiencing issues with characters "moving on their own".

ONLY after you have made an alteration to the controller configuration, Flycast will create a remap file and folder in its main directory, for example "c:/flycast/Mappings/SDL_Xbox 360 Controller.txt".

From here, you can add a line to the config to change the default dead zone to whatever you prefer, in the following example we are increasing the defualt 10% deadzone to 15%:

[emulator]
dead_zone = 15


If you are experiencing controller drift, experiment with this value until you find the lowest setting that corrects the issue.


Additional Flycast Configuration and Optional Settings

Going back into the options menu, we have a few more more settings to configure.


We want to change the language settings to English.


In the Settings / General Tab:
Language = English


Most Dreamcast games (including PSO) support a higher resolution VGA mode. We can set that now.


In the Settings / General Tab:
Cable = VGA


Widescreen [optional]:
Widescreen mode will fill the entire 16:9 display when in full-screen mode. This is a emulator trick as the original game was presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. While there might be a couple graphical pop-ins and inconsistencies, (especially when not in full screen mode), I find PSOV2 to be very attractive and playable with widescreen mode enabled. To enable:


In the Settings / Video Tab:
Check the "Widescreen" Box.


Upscaled Graphics [optional]:
If you have a modestly capable graphics card and PC, you can also change the Scaling (SSAA) from the default 1.0 to something higher. I recommend starting at 2.0 and seeing if the game still plays smoothly. To do so, set:


In the Settings / Video Tab:
Scaling (SSAA) = 2.0


Broadband (BBA) Mode [optional]:

All Dreamcast shipped with a 56k modem that every online game supported. However, a handful of games supported the Broadband Adapter (BBA) accessory. The BBA replaced the 56k modem and used Ethernet networking to deliver much higher internet speeds. Phantasy Star Online V2 through Flycast supports the BBA, so we can expect a bit better online performance by enabling it. To enable BBA Mode:


In the Settings - Advanced - Networking Tab:
Check the "Broadband Adapter Emulation" Box.


Using the broadband adapter will require an additional configuration step. The Ives's Pack has a BBA configuration screen from the Phantasy Star Online V2 main menu, accessible by selecting "WEBSITE".


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From here, we can ignore the actual configuration. We just need something saved to the emulated Dreamcast's flash memory for PSO and Flycast to connect. Select "Save To Flash".


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When Promted "Are you sure you want to save all settings to flash?", Select "Yes".
Now, we can select "Exit" and proceed as normal in the main game.


Launching "Ives' Pack" PSOV2 From Flycast


Flycast Online Warnings:
1 - Do not use save states while in online play! It can break things.
2 - Do not pause/bring up the quick menu while in online play! It can break things.
3 - To save progress in PSO, you must exit the game back to the main menu!


As you may have observed already, Flycast doesn't automatically detect the IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi inside its built-in file explorer to launch. We can tell Flycast to launch it a couple of different ways -


Normal Way: Flycast needs to be pointed to a directory to populate the internal file launcher. Navigate to the Options Menu. In the Settings / General Tab, find the "Content Location" field.


26


Click "Add" and navigate to your c:/flycast folder. The folder should now be listed. When you back out, the IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi should be listed. From here, you can select the entry to boot into the game.


Lazy Way: To launch the IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi, simply navigate your file explorer to the c:/flycast directory and drag-and-drop the Ives's .cdi onto the flycast .exe file. The emulator should launch, starting the game.


Fancy Way: Let's start by simplifying the file name of the Flycast emulator .exe. The long file name is meant as a version marker, but for our purposes we should rename it to something simpler. Right click on the executable and select "Rename". I've renamed mine for this example "flycast". The full file with extension would be "flycast.exe".


With out emulator renamed, let's make a link that opens Ives's PSOV2 Pack automatically.
From your c:/flycast directory, right-click the recently renamed "flycast.exe" file and select "Create Shortcut". Windows will place a shortcut in the same directory.


Now right-click the link we just created and select "Rename" to give the shortcut a more specific name for our task. I chose to rename mine "PSOV2 For Flycast Launcher", but rename it anything you prefer.


Finally, right-click the link one last time and select "Properties".


At the end of the "Target" field, enter a space (one push of the spacebar) and type or copy and paste the name of the Ives's .CDI. Unless it was renamed, the pack is titled "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi".


If you have followed the tutorial example of "c:/flycast", and your Ives's Pack is named "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi", you can simply copy and paste the following into your "Target" field.


C:\flycast\flycast.exe IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi


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We should now have a handy shortcut that we can copy to our desktop or wherever we like to boot into PSO with a double-click!


When you first boot into the "Ives' Pack" PSOV2 from your Flycast emulator, scroll up and refer to the Enter Your SNAK on PSO section for details and help getting started.


Final Notes About Flycast

Alt-Enter: In Flycast, you can press Alt-Enter to enter and exit full screen mode. The widescreen hacks will not be enabled until you have entered full screen.


Closing The Game: When in windowed mode, it is simple to close the Flycast with the X in the top-right corner. As mentioned above, you can toggle to windowed mode with Alt-Enter. Remember to back out to the main menu to save your PSO progress!


Flycast for Android

Flycast also has a fully functional Android version as well that we can use to play PSOV2 Online.


To set this up, we will need to install and use three programs on our Android device: The Flycast emulator apk, a file management app (in this example I am using ZArchiver), and a way to download the Ives' Pack .CDI using a Torrent downloader app (in this example I am using Flud).


We will also need to source the Dreamcast BIOS file "dc_boot.bin", and do some basic configuration on Flycast similar to what was required in the Windows version.


Downloading Flycast for Android 

First, we need to grab a nightly build of Flycast from the Flycast Github page. Navigate your Android device to here. In this example I am using Chrome as my web browser.




Look for the latest build of the Android release. Long-press the Android release download link.



Once the long-press menu pops up, we need to select "Download link".


Because the nightly builds of Flycast aren't coming from a "trusted" source (such as the app store), your android device is trying to protect you from running malicious software. However, we trust Flycast and want to run it. Choose "Keep" to continue.


Once again your device is warning you. We can choose "OK" to keep Flycast.


Once downloaded, you should see this prompt at the bottom of your device. Press the "Open" link to launch the Flycast APK.


Once the Flycast APK launches, it will prompt you to install the software on your device. Choose "Install" to continue.


We don't want to open the program just yet, click "Done" to continue.


If Flycast was installed correctly, we should have a new shortcut on our device's home screen. Before we run Flycast and PSOV2, we need to complete a few more steps.


Downloading Flud and ZArchiver (Android)

We will need a Torrent application to source our Ives' Pack .CDI's. For this I recommend Flud. To download Flud, open your Android App store and search for "Flud".



Don't worry about opening it for now, we will come back in a later step.

We also need to grab ZArchiver from the play store. Type "ZArchiver" into the Play Store search bar and download the app.


As with the previous apps, don't worry about launching for now.

Downloading Ives' Pack PSOV2 Torrent (Android)

We now need to locate a download for the "Ive's Pack" .CDI file of PSOV2, usually found in a .Torrent file online.


I cannot provide a direct link to the .Torrent file, but searching for "Ives Pack Torrent" on Google will get you what you need. The file we are specifically looking for is "PSO_DC_Ives_Pack_v2.torrent". Read more about the Ives' Pack here and here.


Once you have found a download link from your Android web browser, download it and open it.



Because you have downloaded Flud already, when you open a .torrent file, it should automatically try to add the .torrent into the Flud - Torrent Downloader app. This will cause Flud to launch for the first time, and we need to take a second to set it up.



Press the "GIVE PERMISSION" button on Flud to continue.



Your Android device will prompt you to grant permission to Flud. Choose "ALLOW" to continue.


The next screen is Flud is trying to prevent you from racking up a huge bill if you are on a metered phone plan. Depending on your circumstances and preferences, you might want to leave this box checked or uncheck it before selecting OK.


Now that Flud has launched and has the appropriate permissions, we need to click the pink circle in the bottom-right of the screen to add our "PSO_DC_Ives_Pack_v2.torrent" file.


Navigate to your device's downloads folder (my phone's default download directory is "Download") and select the "PSO_DC_Ives_Pack_v2.torrent" file.


Flud will now prompt you to add the file to your downloaded .Torrents. Make a note of the storage path ("/storage/emulated/0/Download/" in my example) and press the plus in the top-right of the screen to begin downloading the "Ives' Pack" torrent.


Your download will now begin. Depending on your internet speed and how many people are seeding the files, this may take a while on your system (if you are confused about .torrents, read more about the BitTorrent infrastructure here). You can leave the app open in the background while we continue to the next step.

Downloading "dc_boot.bin" (Android)

While you are waiting on the Ives' Pack torrent to download, we can locate the "dc_boot.bin" Dreamcast BIOS File required for Flycast to operate. While I cannot provide direct links to this file, I can say Googling "dc_boot.bin" or "Dreamcast Bios" should give you results you can use.

Most likely, the BIOS you find will be in a .zip. My version in this example was "Dreamcast BIOS for Reicast (Android).zip" Do not open this now, as we will use ZArchiver to extract and move the BIOS file to the correct location.



Flycast File Management with ZArchiver (Android) 

Once you have your Ives Pack Torrent and Dreamcast BIOS downloaded, we need to launch ZArchiver. We previously installed the program but did not launch it.


When Zarchiver first launches, it will prompt you for permissions to access your files and folders. Tap "ALLOW" to continue.


ZArchiver pops up a window explaining how to make selections by tapping the folder icon, and how to open a wider selection menu by long-pressing a file name. ZArchiver also is informing you that you must not have any folders or files selected to change folders. We'll be using that information shortly! Press "OK" to bypass the popup.


To set up Flycast Android for PSOV2, we need to create a folder for our BIOS, Flycast Config Files, and Ives' Pack .CDI to live in. For this example, let's create a folder in your "/storage/emulated/" directory called "Flycast". We should be in "/storage/emulated/" by default, so tap on the green plus arrow at the bottom-right of the screen.



The green plus arrow will open a vertical selection menu. To create a new folder, we need to tap the folder icon at the top of the list.



We now need to navigate to the "Download" folder so we can extract our Dreamcast BIOS and Ives' Pack .CDI files and relocate them to our "Flycast" folder. To begin, tap the "Download" folder.


Inside, we need to locate our Dreamcast Bios zip file. The one sourced from the internet was labeled "Dreamcast BIOS for Reicast (Android).zip". Find that file inside the "Download" folder and tap it.


When you tap the .zip file, it will open a menu at the bottom of your device's screen. Select "Extract to ./<Archive name>/" to extract the contents of the zip into a new folder that shares the name of the .ZIP File.


Navigate to your recently created "Dreamcast BIOS for Reicast (Android)" folder. Inside the "data" folder should be the file "dc_boot.bin".


Long-press "dc_boot.bin" to bring up the selection window. We need to copy the file to move into our "Flycast" directory, so select "Copy" from the selection choices.


Now, navigate back to the "Flycast" folder we created earlier.


With our "dc_boot.bin" file copied, we can press the clipboard icon in the top-right of the screen to paste our copied file.


We should now see the "dc_boot.bin" file in our "/flycast" directory.

We now need to navigate once again to our "Download" folder. Inside should be our "PSO_DC_IVES_PACK_V2" folder. This is the folder that Flud created to store our downloaded Ives' Pack .CDI versions of PSOV2. Once you locate this, you will see three separate .7z files.


We now need to decide which version(s) of the Ives' Pack PSOV2 we want to play. For more information, read about the version differences here. For this example, I am going to use "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.7z".

As we did with the BIOS Zip file, we need to extract "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.7z" into a folder. Tap "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.7z" and select "Extract to ./<Archive name>/". This will create a folder named after the archive containing the extracted file we need. The extracting might take a moment depending on your device. Once extracted, tap the "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP" folder to open.


Similarly to what we did with the BIOS file, long-press the "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi" file and select copy. Navigate back to our "Flycast" folder, and press the clipboard icon in the top-right of the screen to paste the file into the "Flycast" folder. When done, the folder should look like this:



We now have the two required files on our device for Flycast to run PSOV2! We now need to run Flycast for Android and configure our settings.

Configuring Flycast (Android)



We can now head back to our Android device's home page and launch Flycast for the first time. Find and tap the "Flycast" icon.


When Flycast launches, it needs you to set the working directory for the app. This is the location it will place any configuration data, as well as where it will look for any BIOS files we have added. From within Flycast, navigate to the "flycast" folder we have previously created, from and select "Select Current Directory".


If you set up your "Flycast" folder correctly, and correctly pointed the app to the folder, Flycast will detect and list your Dreamcast BIOS, as well as the "IVES_PSOV2_US_R2_EP.cdi" game file. Before we launch the game, we need to take a moment to configure some items in the "Settings" window. Tap "Settings" in the top-right corner of the screen to continue.

Here are the settings we want to change:

We want to change the language settings to English.


In the Settings / General Tab:
Language = English


Most Dreamcast games (including PSO) support a higher resolution VGA mode. We can set that now.


In the Settings / General Tab:
Cable = VGA


Widescreen [optional]:
Widescreen mode will fill the entire 16:9 display when in full-screen mode. This is a emulator trick as the original game was presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. While there might be a couple graphical pop-ins and inconsistencies, PSOV2 is works well and is fully playable with widescreen mode enabled. To enable:


In the Settings / Video Tab:
Check the "Widescreen" Box.


Upscaled Graphics [optional]:
If your device can handle a little bit extra GPU load, you can increase the Scaling (SSAA) from the default 1.0 to something higher. I recommend starting at 2.0 and seeing if the game still plays smoothly. You can always decrease this number later if it causes too much slowdown. To enable higher resolution graphics, set:


In the Settings / Video Tab:
Scaling (SSAA) = 2.0


Broadband (BBA) Mode [optional]:

All Dreamcast shipped with a 56k modem that every online game supported. However, a handful of games supported the Broadband Adapter (BBA) accessory. The BBA replaced the 56k modem and used Ethernet networking to deliver much higher internet speeds. Phantasy Star Online V2 through Flycast supports the BBA, so we can expect a bit better online performance by enabling it. To enable BBA Mode:


In the Settings - Advanced - Networking Tab:
Check the "Broadband Adapter Emulation" Box.

Note that enabling BBA mode requires additional configuration inside PSOV2. For more information about this, please reference the section in the Flycast PC guide concerning the BBA mode here.

When you are finished changing settings, press "Done" at the top left of the screen.

Flycast Controls (Android)

Touch Controls:


The above picture demonstrates the default touch controls for Flycast on Android. The four face buttons and triggers are available on the right side of the device's screen, and the analog and d-pad are on the left. Note that currently, Flycast on Android does not have any keyboard implementation, so communication and entering text info, such as your SNAK, must be done using the controller bindings.

Bluetooth Controller:
In my opinion, this is the more enjoyable option to get the most out of PSOV2 on Flycast for Android. Any controller with Bluetooth support should work, but if you do not have a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox or PlayStation controller around, I recommend an 8BitDo SN30 Pro+. Amazon link to buy here.


To enable your Bluetooth controller, make sure your controller is on and paired with your android device. For this particular 8BitDo SN30+ controller, refer to this guide for instructions on how to pair. Once paired and enabled, go to your "Settings / Controls / Physical Devices" tab in Flycast and make sure your device is detected and assigned to "Port A":


In the above image, I have highlighted the controller and port assignment. In most cases, the button and joypad assignment should be automatic, but if you need to make any changes, the "Map" selection next to your device (either Bluetooth controller or Virtual Gamepad controls) will allow you to make adjustments and reassignments. When finished, press "Done" at the top of the screen.


Launching Ives' Pack PSOV2 from Flycast for Android


Flycast Online Warnings:
1 - Do not use save states while in online play! It can break things.
2 - Do not use "Fast Forward" functions while online! It can break things.
3 - Do not pause/bring up the quick menu while in online play! It can break things.
4 - To save progress in PSO, you must exit the game back to the main menu!


With our Flycast for Android configured, we should now be able to launch into the game! Please review the first portion of this guide when you first boot into the "Ives' Pack" PSOV2 from your Flycast emulator, Specifically the Entering Your SNAK on PSO section for details and help getting started. Please take note of the above warnings as you play to not crash or lose progress while playing online.






TL;DR: Getting Online Quick Guide


Dreamcast:

1. Get a copy of PSOV2 with a SNAK sticker intact, or use a SHARED KEY.

2. Register your SNAK on Sylverant, it protects your investment and opts you in to server special events. (Skip this step if using a SHARED KEY).

3. Get your Dreamcast Online (preferably with DreamPi).

4. Get PSOV2 on Sylverant Server with Original Game + Boot Disc or with Ives' Pack.

5. Launch the game on your Dreamcast, Enter Your SNAK on PSO and get online!


Flycast Emulator on Windows PC:

1. Get a copy of PSOV2 with a SNAK sticker intact, or use a SHARED KEY.

2. Register your SNAK on Sylverant, it protects your investment and opts you in to server special events. (Skip this step if using a SHARED KEY).

3. Download Flycast for Windows.

4. Download Dreamcast BIOS Files.

5. Download Ives' PSOV2 Pack.

6. Configure Flycast for Gamepad / Keyboard combo controls.

7. A little bit more Flycast Configuration and Launch Ives's Pack from a Shortcut.

8. Launch Flycast for PC, Enter Your SNAK on PSO and play online!


Flycast Emulator on Android:

1. Get a copy of PSOV2 with a SNAK sticker intact, or use a SHARED KEY.

2. Register your SNAK on Sylverant, it protects your investment and opts you in to server special events. (Skip this step if using a SHARED KEY).

3. Download Flycast for Android.

4. Download Flud and ZArchiver from the Play Store.

5. Locate and download the Ives' Pack Torrent and Download using Flud.

6. Locate and download the Dreamcast BIOS file "dc_boot.bin".

7. Create "flycast" directory and place BIOS and Ives Pack .CDI inside using ZArchiver.

8. Configure Flycast for Android.

9. Resign to using touch controls or set up Bluetooth Controller.

10. Launch Flycast for Android, Enter Your SNAK on PSO and get online!







Phantasy Star Online V2: Basics For Beginners

(This section is woefully incomplete and will be expanded. -Old Kid)


Basic Controls and Battling

Hopefully before going online you have taken a session or two or so to familiarize yourself with the basic mechanics of the game. If you've made it down to the planet and are attacking enemies, you probably have some questions. Have a look at this touched-up scan of the controls page from the PSOV2 US Manual:



Targeting

Targeting enemies is admittedly a little wonky in the Dreamcast PSO. Because of the lack of dual analog controls, the game relies heavily on a generous auto-aim and a "re-centering mechanic" that requires the player to pull the (L) Trigger frequently to line up their attacks.


Getting used to the rhythm of lining up, attacking, re-pointing to another enemy with (L), attacking, etc. is key to enjoying the game. It is a little awkward, but with a little practice it becomes second nature.

Attacking "Triple" Rhythm Combos
Attacking enemies in PSO is fairly straightforward, but there is a rhythm to the attacks that many beginners miss. Regardless of race/class or if you are using a melee or ranged weapons, there is a "triple" pattern baked into the timing of PSO that enables you to inflict the most damage in the shortest amount of time. If you press any combination of strong and weak attacks with the right pause between button presses, you can attack three consecutive times before resting. Practice "Weak - Weak - Strong" or "Strong - Weak - Weak" combinations so that you can utilize the knock-back (pushing the enemy away from you) inflicted by most weapons "strong" attack in your combo.

Blocking
"How Do I Block?" is a common question for beginners. Blocking in PSO is automatic, and how often your character blocks an attack is directly linked to their "Evade" stat, abbreviated in your character's status screen as "EVP".

Stats
On the subject of stats, your character has 6 main stats that effect them throughout the game. While this is by no means comprehensive, it should give you a broad idea on what effects items and weapons have on your character.

ATP - Attack Power


DFP - Defense Power


MST - Mind Strength


ATA - Attack Accuracy


EVP - Evasion Power

As described above, the higher your EVP, the higher chance you will block an attack.


LCK - Luck


HP  - Hit Points


TP  - Technique Points


As described in the XBOX/PAL game manual for PSO EPI&II:

ATP: Attack Power
DFP: Defense Power
MST: Mental Strength
ATA: Attack Accuracy
EVP: Evasion Power
LCK: Luck
EFR: Elemental Resistance to Fire
EIC: Elemental Resistance to Ice
ETH: Elemental Resistance to Lightning
EDK: Elemental Resistance to Dark
ELT: Elemental Resistance to Light


Techniques (Magic)

SIMPLE ATTACK
Foie:  A simple fire attack that can hit one enemy.
Barta:  A linear ice attack that hits multiple enemies in one line.
Zonde:  A simple lightning attack that strikes one enemy from above.


NORMAL ATTACK
Gifoie:  Creates a ring of fire and burns nearby enemies.
Gibarta:  Shoots ice projectiles and can freeze enemies at higher
levels.
Gizonde:  Hits multiple enemies with lightning in a chain reaction.


HARD ATTACK
Rafoie:  Makes a huge fire explosion and hits nearby enemies.
Rabarta:  Launches ice and freezes enemies.
Razonde:  Hits all surrounding enemies with lightning.
Grants:  A very powerful light attack that hits one enemy. (rare)
Megid:  A powerful dark attack that has a chance of killing in one
strike. (rare)

HEAL
Resta:  Completely restores a player's health.  You can heal others at
higher levels.
Anti:  Revives a player of all adverse effects.  You can heal others at
higher levels.
Reverser:  Revives a fallen player.  There aren't any different levels
for this spell.

SUPPORT
Shifta:  Boosts a player's attack power.  Can help others at higher
levels.
Deband:  Boosts a player's defense.  Can help others at higher levels.
Jellen:  Attack weaking technique for enemies.
Zalure:  Defense weaking technique for enemies.
Ryuker:  Creates a telepipe to the city.  There aren't any different
levels for this spell.

2 - Game Infrastructure



How to Choose a Starting Character (it is okay to start over!)


Your Items are not gone, Go back for them!

Nonsense Ability Words Explained

Work in Progress / To Do  

- I'm Online... Now What? Guide

- Outline Online-Specific Features, Guildcards, Ships, Rooms, etc.

- Specifics for PSOv1

- Specifics for PAL, Japan

- Turn Guide into youtube video?

- Android Flycast setup guide?

- Probably a lot more


Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone on the Discord and forums for helping me sort all this information out. If you have suggestions or corrections, hit me up @ patrickclaytonworking@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/oldkidgaming.