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This page documents the differences between Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe.


A 'Hunters' License' is now called a Guardians' License. Each account can have up to four characters for Network Mode and four for Extra Mode.


Race, Sex and Type

There are four races in PSU, three of them taken from PSO - Humans, Newmans, Casts and an all new race - Beasts. PSU also retains the three types from PSO - Hunter, Ranger, and Force. Casts are capable of being Forces.

Whereas in PSO only a number of combinations of race, sex and type were legal for playable characters, this system has been done away with in PSU. All of these can be chosen independently, and Types can even be switched in the first city, at the costs of Meseta fees, and independent 'Type Levels' for each type, which are to be distinguished from the static Character Level, and can be increased by doing well in Missions. Supposedly, types have been designed such that the game would reach a higher level of balance than PSO did.

Also, the beast race has been added, which has access to a special racial ability called Nanoblast. CAST characters (formerly also known as 'androids' or 'humanoids') have been augmented with the ability to use abilities akin to the Photon Blast/Photon Mirage from PSO known as SUV Weapons.

Finally, 'Expert Types' have been implemented, allowing the player to further focus on one of the three basic types (becoming either a Fortefighter, Fortegunner, or Fortetecher), or take on some abilities of a second type (becoming either a Fighgunner, Wartecher, Guntecher, Protranser, Acrofighter, Acrotecher, Fighmaster, Gunmaster, or Masterforce), allowing for more customization.

Character Customization

The character customization potential in PSU is a lot higher than that in PSO, though for all races but Casts, the differences compared to each other are only few. Unlike in PSO, it is now also possible to add voices to one's character. For more in-depth information, please check Character Customization.

Online Locations

Ships -> Universes

What was known as a 'Ship' in PSO is now known as a Universe. These will have numbers rather than names, and upon log-in a player will be randomly sent to one of them, in order to better distribute activity across the different universes. To be able to see the characters of people on other universes again, characters can always switch among them using special warp blocks that can be found just about anywhere. Each Universe, is capable of holding 1,000 players at any one time.

Blocks -> Cities and Rest Points

The old Blocks do not exist anymore in PSU, but have been replaced by a somewhat similar system. There are a number of cities spread out over three planets (plus a space colony) that can be seen in the same way, though they are quite a bit bigger, and can contain a lot more players (if applicable, no limits known as of now). It's possible to travel (read: warp) among these cities using the transport facilities they have. It is to be noted that the term 'Block' is still used in PSU, but now refers to a part of a mission.

Games -> Missions

While in PSO it was possible to make an instanced game and then load a quest from any lobby, in PSU you will actually have to travel to the location where a certain 'Mission' (the new equivalents of areas and quests) takes place. These are still instanced, but will be limited to six rather than four players at a time. It is possible to change the name, comment, password and item distribution settings of a Mission instance at any time. The latter is capable of having drops (separate for items above the 'rare threshold' of Star Rarity seven) be distributed randomly, making sure the 'get-whatever-you-can' strategy that was popular among the highly populated parts of PSO, where interpersonal trust was generally low, can be avoided. Whenever a rare item has been picked up, a message will scroll up the right side of the screen stating the details. The old difficulties (Normal, Hard, Very Hard and Ultimate) are now known as the 'Mission ranks' C, B, A, S and S2. The level restrictions for each of these varies for each Mission.

Not all Missions will have bosses at the end, but each will lead the players to a 'rest point' - a lobby similar to the cities, but with only a vendor NPC at most. From here, new Missions are often accessible. From this perspective, the system is similar to how a player had to play through the 'Cave 1' and 'Cave 2' areas before being able to play Cave 3 and battle the boss. Also nice to note is that upon log-on in PSU, it is possible to start again at the location from which the character last quit or disconnected by other means. Additionally, once a player has been to a given lobby, they may transport there at any time for a small meseta fee. On a sidenote, there are also options to check out the equipment and statistics of characters in the same Mission or Party.

NPC Shops

Shops can now be found in cities (and restock NPCs at rest points), rather than in games. The inventories will be different for most shops, but unlike in PSO they will carry useful and cool items, and Meseta will be more scarce. These are different from the new Player Shops that are to be introduced in PSU.

There are a number of different shops, including Synthesis Shops that sell items for Item Synthesis, Weapons Shops that sell various weapons and Photon Arts, and Armor Shops.

My Room

My Room itself

New to PSU, each character will have an instance of a special area called 'My Room'. This room can be decorated by its owner, and can fulfill various other purposes. As with other instanced areas (Missions), only six players can visit them at the same time. The most notable features of the My Room are that it houses an account-based storage place (allowing for items to be transferred to alternate characters without needing other players to hold them), a player's Partner Machinery, and, if applicable, the Player Shop. The My Room can also be locked with a password to prevent unwanted players from entering it. There will be an in-game log of people that entered one's My Room, by which the My Rooms of these players can be tracked.

Mags -> Partner machines

Partner machine (or 'PM' for short) is what replaces the old Mags. They have four basic stats that can be increased, and can evolve like mags, but are limited to one per character, and cannot be 'equipped' as in PSO. Their statistics determine to an extent what type of PM they evolve to, and once they evolve sufficiently they may be invited to participate in battle, similar to the way other NPCs may be invited. They can also be used to craft new items in a process called Item Synthesis.

Players Shops

For a one-time fee, characters will be able to get their own shops in their My Room, to resell the items they do not need. The partner machine will function as an NPC vendor, so that it does not matter whether the buyer and seller are actually online at the same time. It is possible to find other players' personal shops by searching by character/shop name, description keywords or inventory items. Additionally, there is a more advanced shop search feature allowing a player to sort the search results based on price, elemental attribute, star rating, and several other options.

Item Synthesis

A character's Partner Machinery is capable of synthesizing special 'Synthesis Boards' (also informally referred to as 'recipes') together with 'Synthesis Ingredients' into new items. A PM's statistics are able to influence the success rate for certain items, so this system might be seen as to replace the old Section IDs. For some of the craftable items the ingredients that may be used are variable, and using a different ingredient when synthesizing an item may alter what item is produced from the process.


Teams and Parties

The 'Team system' from PSO:BB, has also been done away with. Parties can exist even outside of Games/Missions though, allowing for easy communication and staying together to start new Missions.

Public Chat, Party Chat and Simple Mail

Regular chat in PSU will appear in chat balloons (not using the same color for each player), will be limited to a similar amount of letters, and will reach all players within the same instance, as in PSO. Party Chat is sort of the same as Team Chat from PSO:BB (meaning it's like an IRC channel for the people that are in it), and Simple Mail hasn't really changed at all other than the addition of a 'reply with quote' option. It is possible to use color tags in regular chat. Obscenity filters still exist, but do not filter regular words containing obscene words ('saturday'; 'basement'; 'shoes') anymore. It is notable that when multiple players in the same instance say the exact same thing using regular chat, the chat balloons will merge into a bigger one, with a bigger font. Chat shortcuts still exist, as before. Options for 'shout' and 'think' chat bubbles have been added.

Guild Cards -> Partner Cards

'Guild Cards' are now known as Partner Cards. Besides those of players, such cards of NPCs from the Story Mode can be obtained, and of one's Partner Machinery as well, in order to have them participate in Missions. Unlike in PSO, whether a player is online will be shown instantly in the Partner Card overview menu. The cards can now only be sorted through numbers ranging from 1 to 5. They can be used to track a player's location and their online/offline status. A player's online status can be checked without 'searching' them, as in PSO - there is a small icon for each card that is grey if the player is offline, and white if the player is online. This icon will also change to yellow if the player is currently in the same party. Selecting the card of a player who is online will also show more information, including which universe they presently are located in, their current character name and level, and their location.

Lobby Animations

New versions of the old lobby animations are present. For more information, see Lobby Animations.

Symbol Chat -> Cut-In Chat

Cut-In Chat replaces the old Symbol Chat. The player can choose from a number of facial emotions and angles, append some text, and have both appear in the screen at the same time. Only two of these can be displayed simultaneously, to prevent potential spamming possibilities. For more information and screenshots, check Cut-In Chat (to be added?).

Word Select

Like in the US/International version of PSO:BB, Word Select does not exist in PSU, possibly because of the decision to have the Japanese servers be separate from the Western ones.

Offensive Users

It is possible to 'silence' offensive users via the Blacklist option. The leader of a party may also kick (and effectively ban) people from one's party, as well as remove summoned NPCs. Also, all private areas (meaning Missions and My Rooms) can be locked with passwords.

Gameplay and Miscellaneous


The controls are very similar to those of PSO, and will not take much time getting used to. The moving animations are smoother and faster, but the 'auto run/walk' function from PSO:BB only exists for those using the expansion to PSU, Ambition of the Illuminus. Some ranged weapons can now be aimed/fired from first-person view, and some also support being used while moving around. A strafe system has been implemented reminiscent to that of the The Legend of Zelda series, allowing for sidestepping (but no jumping or rolling and no backflips). New is the ability to wield two weapons at a time (some weapons use up both hands, some use the left hand, some the right), allowing for more diversity in ones attacks. PSU also supports controller vibration.

Special Attacks and Techniques -> Photon Arts

Special attacks (or 'Extra Attacks') and Techniques still exist in PSU, but they are now part of a system called Photon Arts (also known as 'PAs'). These rely on a weapon stat called 'Photon Points' (PP), replacing the old Technique Points (TP). There are three sub-types, one native to each of the three main types: Skills (Hunters), Bullets (Rangers) and Techniques (Forces). Out of these, only Techniques are exclusive to a single type. A character can only know thirty-six (36) PAs at a time. They each have an independent level, that can be increased by just using the PA in question a lot (not on thin air). PAs can be linked to weapons (they can be assigned to different palette buttons this way), but the details regarding their usage is mostly unique for each sub-type. For more information, please consult their respective pages.

Challenge Mode and Battle Mode

Challenge Mode and Battle Mode are currently absent in PSU, but may be added later on.

Death Penalties

Originally, characters did not receive direct penalties for dying in battle, but instead, it would negatively influence one's ratings obtained at the end of a Mission, which would decide the reward (in Meseta and EXP for type levels).

This is no longer true for any version of the game. Now, if a player is killed in a mission, and revived by another player (using a moon atomizer or other item), no penalty occurs. However, if the killed player uses the option to warp back to the lobby and re-enter the mission, there WILL be a penalty.

Telepipes and Ryuker -> Block Warps

It is not possible to allow for characters to warp to just about any place anymore. Instead, Missions have been split up into a few 'Blocks', and at the beginning of each block is a Warp Crystal. Once this Warp Crystal has been activated, party members may use it to transport to any other Warp Crystal in the mission that has also been activated.


Though characters are restricted to the limits of a single type until they can use Expert Types, there are still plenty of options to play Missions solo. Players can call in the help of NPCs (assuming the player has an NPC's card), as well as of their partner machine (if it is battle-usable yet). Besides that, the stacking limit for some important healing items has been increased (x20 for the old Mates -- Fluids have been replaced), and the game has items that can increase one's stats (similarly to Shifta and Deband from PSO, which also still exist).


The old Luck (LCK) stat has been replaced by a new Photon Fortune system, which is completely separate from a character's stats. This system will allow randomly selected characters to be given special bonus effects daily depending on their Race and Gender. Whereas Luck determined the critical hit rate in PSO. In PSU numerous bonuses will occur, ranging from a higher drop rate to increased chances of success when grinding. Those affected by Photon Fortune will have a star-like animations next to their name displayed above their character.

STA (Stamina), also called End. (Endurance), is a new stat which influences how likely a character is to resist negative Status Effects, such as Burn, Poison, Shock and Silence status effects.

MST (Mental strength), also called Ment., is a new stat similar to DFP, that determines how much or little damage a character receives from TECHNICs.

It should be noted that if a character has enough MST to totally negate damage from a TECHNIC, the TECHNIC is unable to inflict any status effects at all. However, as long as the TECHNIC is doing some damage, the chance of it inflicting its status effect does not change.

The old resistances have been replaced with the Line shield system.

New Item Types

PSU has a number of new sub-types of Items, and of Weapons specifically, while some old ones have been removed. Please consult their respective pages for more information.


The grinding system has been altered, and is now useful even for Force Weapons. The maximum grind value is now +10 for all items, but each step up will significantly increase its Att. (Attack power, for melee and ranged weapons) or Tech. (a similar stat for force weapons), as well as its PP. On the down-side, Grinders are now harder to come by, and attempting to grind an item might damage it. For more information, see Grinding.

Offline Modes

There are two modes accessible offline. On one hand there is the Story Mode, featuring Ethan Waber, which is supposed to offer about 50 hours of gameplay. On the other hand, there is Extra Mode, which is mainly different from the former in that it allows players to use their own characters instead (though these are separate from those from the online Network Mode). In short, Extra Mode is mainly aimed at console players that do not have online access.


A number of vehicles can be used both online and offline in certain places, including tanks and ridable dinosaurs. For more information, see Vehicles.

Content Updates

Completely unlike PSO, PSU will supposedly even get new content additions regularly. It has been hinted that there will be an automatic delay on content updates based on the release date for JP PSU compared to US. For example, if, two months after the release of JP PSU, a new quest is released, it will be released two months after the release of US PSU on that version.


Enemies have a somewhat better AI in PSU than they had before, as some enemies will side step or fade back when near you, resulting in your character most likely missing his/her melee combo. There are also special 'leader' versions of enemies (that have the same name as their regular counterparts), that can support and lead their subordinates. Rare enemies also make an appearance (which now include Rag Rappies). PSU features nine bosses, and their battles are more epic than before, featuring huge arenas. Bosses generally have weak points, and have the ability to strengthen themselves. All enemies have one element associated with them, replacing the old attributes (Native, A. Beast, Machine, Dark). These can be used to find out what they might be weak to. There are six elements, with Fire, Ice, Lightning, Light and Dark returning from PSO and a new element - Ground.


Formerly known as Techniques, TECHNICs now have gotten a large change. The names for each spell has changed around, so Gi- and Ra- type spells aren't based on difficulty, but by type of attack, the former being an Area of Effect attack around the caster, the latter being a sort of a "Remote" Area of Effect attack. There also new methods of attack, including Dam-type and Nos-type attacks. Dam-type attacks are reminiscent of PSO's Gibarta, where the caster fires an element in a short range in front of them, and remains firing in a steady stream for as long as they hold down the button the corresponds to that spell. Nos-type attacks feature homing projectiles, where Nosmegid and Noszonde just sticks on its target until the button would be released, and Nosdiga hits as soon as it hits its desired target. Major changes include:

  • Gifoie now casts a wave of fire around the caster, rather than fireballs spinning outward.
  • Gizonde casts a lightning strike around the caster, rather than multiple lightning bolts shooting in a spiral pattern.
  • Zonde fires a ball of lightning, rather than hitting the target with a lightning bolt.
  • Phantasy Star Online's Gizonde no longer exists.
  • There is now the ground-element spells, Diga spells.
  • Grants is replaced by Regrant.
  • Anti is now called Reverser.
  • Reverser from Phantasy Star Online is now known as Giresta, which also heals.
  • There are two new buff spells, Zodial, which boosts ATA and EVP, and Retier, which boosts MST and TP.
  • Megid now does damage rather than no damage at all if it does not incapacitate.
  • A special buff spell, Megistar, which is all four buffs in one spell, is introduced.
  • Ramegid is a new spell that confuses enemies.
  • A new Debuff spell, Zoldeel, lowers ATA and EVP.
  • Wands, rods, and TCSMs contain the TECHNICs, up to four on rods, two on wands and TCSMs, rather than being able to cast any spell with any weapon equipped.
General Info

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