As was revealed before, Phantasy Star Online 2 will be free-to-play unlike its predecessor, and will fund itself through premium items much like many online games have considered and succeeded at. Sega however has promised that premium items wont ruin the balance between paying and non-paying players.
The original Phantasy Star Online is known for its class roles and balance, so anything that disrupts the balance would be heresy of the highest order due to deviating from the scale of power in the game.
In an upcoming closed beta, players will get to test out the premium items by being given 10,000 arcs cash, PSO2’s premium currency. The beta’s purpose will be to focus on balance tweaks, bug identification, and cleaning up various issues that will undoubtedly crop up in Phantasy Star Online 2. The original PSO is also known for having a degree of bugs but very few actually strike. When they do however, oh geez… R.I.P. my 40-hit Vivienne, you served me well.
Premium items can be a nice boost, or outright pay to win depending on the game. Aeria Games for example is somewhat notorious because of their premium items being of extreme power. Meanwhile, Riot Games does it perfectly by making sure that there is absolutely no performance-enhancing content in the game that cannot be also enjoyed by players who don’t feel like paying. The only thing exclusive to premium users is the multitude of skins which are purely cosmetic.