Phantasy Star Online is a great game and it's also one that you put a lot of time into. I've personally racked up over 300 hours just on one character and that's a lot of progress that can potentially be lost in the event of a corrupted save. This is why it's a very good idea to keep backups of all your favorite PSO characters. So how do you do this? Well the obvious way is by simply copying your PSO saves to another VMU (this is a great use for one of those cheap 3rd-party 4x memory cards). This is a bit more complicated than it needs to be though as PSO saves are copy-restricted, which means you're not allowed to copy them to another VMU. There is a workaround however, and that's by using the awesome Dream Explorer utility which has a handy tool to unlock those PSO save files. In addition, if you're lucky enough to have a BIOS-modded Dreamcast, you can use the japanese-cake BIOS which automatically unlocks VMU saves for you.
There is a much more convenient way of backing up your PSO characters however and that's by using Sylverant's "cloud backup". That's right, you can back up your PSO characters to the server and restore them at any time! In the event of a corrupted save, you can simply create a new character with the same name, connect to the server, and restore that character with a simple command. So how do you do this? It's easy! The first thing you'll need to do is create an account on the Sylverant website and register your serial number, access key, and Guild Card number on your account. Please note that you'll need a unique serial number and access key; don't try and register shared info you found online! Go out and buy a complete copy of PSO to get your own serial and key if you don't have one.
Note: The following commands can only be used while in the PSO lobby.
Once you have your information registered on your Sylverant account, you can then log into your account within the game by typing this command: /login username password. Once you're logged in, you can then use the backup feature. To manually back up your character, type the command /save followed by a slot number (you have 4 slots to save characters to). You can also use the automatic backup feature which will make a backup of your character every time you connect to the server; to use this feature, type the command /enablebk.
Note: In the future, you don't need to log in to backup or restore your character. You only need to do this once.
To restore a character from a manual save, type the command /restore followed by the slot number. To restore a character from the automatic backup, type the command /restorebk.
There you have it! An easy way to keep your PSO characters safe and prevent you from losing countless hours of grinding! This backup feature is universal across all ships so it doesn't matter which one you're on. The backups are made to the Sylverant master server so you're always making the backup to the same place regardless of the ship you're on. I should note that Sylverant's backup feature will not save the items in your bank, any offline progress, or your Challenge Mode ranking. For this reason, it's a good idea to make an offline backup on occasion as well. Using an offline backup in combination with the online one is the best way to go. Considering the fact that your offline progress, bank inventory, and C. Mode ranking probably don't change very often, making an offline backup once every month or two is probably good practice.