By Jonathan_F at 10/11/2005 - 11:39am
It started December 21st, 2000. A huge explosion took place on a planet named Ragol and a game known as Phantasy Star Online made its entrance into the world as the world's first console online RPG. Players using a 33.6 kb/s modem included with their Dreamcast were greeted with a list options including Ship Select and Download. And inside of Ship Select were names such as Oberon, Puck, and Miranda.
The story continues 7 months later with the release of Phantasy Star Online Version 2. This version included many new features. Character levels up to level 200. Battle mode, where players could fight against each other in a person vs person environmentand, and Challenge mode, where players fought against the timer to clear areas at low levels and no trips to Pioneer 2 were allowed. Lastly, Ultimate mode. The way to boost a character's exp rates even more, and the introduction of the dreaded tripple zero damage.
The game was then ported to windows with a Japan only release on December 20th, 2001. This version was essentially Version 2, but with an extra feature. Players could store many more characters than on the dreamcast version.
The adventure continued months later on September 12th, 2002. Phantasy Star Online Episode I&II was released on the gamecube. However this would be a huge downfall for Sonic Team, because a huge bug was found in the game which required issuing of a new version which players would send their old disk in and get the new version 1.1. This bug was found before the US version was mastered however, so there was americans didn't have to send their disks back.
And a few months later on January 16th, 2003 Phantasy Star Online Episode I&II was released on Xbox. The XBOX eventually turned out to be a huge flop in Japan, however JP players were given this version for FREE with purchase of an XBOX live account, as Live was required to even play offline mode.
The adventure once again continued on November 27th 2003. The gameplay took a complete change of pace here, going from real time 3d hack and slash, to a card game. Using the C.A.R.D technology the story of Phantasy Star Online was wrapped up with the landing of Pioneer 2 on Ragol...at least we thought it was the end.
On February 3rd 2005, the world was introduced to Episode IV. This lost chapter in the saga of Phantasy Star Online took players to a time before the events of Episode III, where an asteroid had gone off its path of traveling around the cosmos, and was redirected towards Ragol.
Adventurers continue to fight in the new landscapes found to this day.d as time passes we are now closing in on the 5th aniversary of Phantasy Star Online. On December 21st, Phantasy Star Online will be 5 years old and sega has some big plans to send the series out with a bang that will last the players until Phantasy Star Universe is released.
First and foremost, Episode IV will become a free download on JP servers. This is so Sega can make way for the 2nd big announcement.
Yes, The third Maximum Attack has been announced for JP gamers. While it is unknown what areas it will take place in, it is confirmed to take place in Episode IV. With Net Cash as the sponsor, we can be sure to see some fantastic prizes before we say goodbye to Phantasy Star Online and hello to the Phantasy Star Universe that looms in the future.
Also while there is currently nothing in the works for US/EU servers, hopefully we will get a piece of the celebration as well.
source: psobb.jp and clumsyorchid