December 11, 2017 Article Published

Here we are, my last Daily Titan article of the semester. It holds a special distinction not just as my final piece for 2017, but also as the first opinion piece I’ve written for the school paper.

The story didn’t exactly start off that way, however. You see, things started with the overall theme of our last, special issue focusing on millennials. Everyone on the editorial board had to come up with an idea to potentially run, something that was either a profile or that related to millennials in some way, shape or form. I wound up imagining something for the latter that generated some interest, and as a result I started researching whether the trend of young people being ‘nostalgic’ is problematic.

Initially I was approaching the story as a news piece, looking to experts in the psychology department who focus on memory as a source of information regarding the effects of memory and looking to the past. I sat down with Dr. David Gerkens, who did a study presented in 2015 that found positive memory recall frequently over a week leads to higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression. On top of that, he had an interesting perspective on the idea that looking into the past is an excellent grounding agent in a time when rapidly advancing technology can leave people feeling lost or anxious.

Admittedly, that result was not what I was expecting. I had started investigating under the impression that being stuck in the past might have more negative repercussions (despite the fact that I too look to things like old games and cartoons for inspiration often), so my whole focus shifted somewhat after that conversation.

In fact, it was about that time when I realized I might not have enough content to write a full news piece on the topic I’d set out to do, or enough time to gather more before we went to production, so I changed gears and wrote an opinion instead. After doing some extra online research to back up what I decided I’d want to say, the opinion boiled down to this:

Nostalgia is a concept that’s overwhelmingly discussed today, especially through the return of old analog technology and the mindset behind now somewhat infamous gags like the ‘only 90s kids remember’ trend, and it’s annoying to see. However, there are benefits to the concept and what it can do for you, so realistically it’s dumb to try and restrict people. To each their own, in essence.

As someone who’s strictly hard news, it was fun writing something that embellishes on my opinion (luckily with a not-so-controversial topic). I did a fairly good job with it too, or better than I expected given the feedback from our opinion editor Rishu. It was a fun, experimental little romp in our feature-y final issue that I can maybe jump off of next semester when I’m in 471 as another writing avenue to practice.

If you want to check out the article in it’s entirety, you can read it here. You can also see my full catalog of writing for the Daily Titan over on the right!


While I’m here, I also wanted to comment quickly on the end of the semester. Sure, I’m studying for finals as I write this, but with our final publication comes the end of my paper responsibilities for now. It’s been an absolute blast working with a phenomenal team, writing high caliber stories that really reached far into the collective consciousness like all of my Milo Yiannopoulos coverage.

Like I said above, next semester I’m going to be in Comm 471, the capstone class for the Journalism major at CSUF that requires you to be a staff writer for the Daily Titan. Because of that, I’m no longer going to be a News Editor for the paper. At least, not next semester. You can’t be in the class and get paid, so it’s not worth taking the pay cut and having to balance the work of both an editor and a staff writer.

After a year and a half of editorship, it’s a little bittersweet, and I felt odd packing up the desk I’ve been sitting at for so long yesterday. However, I’m still going to apply for the editorial board of the paper as an assistant. Likely at a different desk, like Lifestyle, A&E or something along those lines. A desk where I can get some experience at doing something different than hard news. While it’s my overall passion, I’m going to relish the break from dealing with budgets and daily production, as well as the opportunity to learn and write a different craft more often.

It’ll be a whole different kind of adventure, one I’m looking forward to taking. My friend Kyle is going to be our Editor in Chief, so it should be a fantastically run publication once again following on the coattails of Zack. 

Here’s hoping you all stick with me as I take that journey, because it should be interesting to watch at the very least.

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December 5, 2017 Article Published

Taking Comm 325 – Multimedia Journalism – has been an interesting experience this semester. I’m definitely far more of a verbal/textual person than I am a visual person, so I’ve always argued that stuff like broadcast and video aren’t really my forte.

However, I think my time doing this multimedia class might have changed my perspective on that just a bit.

Not enough to drive me to change my focus entirely, since there’s still plenty about doing video versus print that bugs me (namely having to get good audio, focusing on that part sucks). But enough to give me enough confidence to hopefully try and do more multimedia content in the future.

You see, while there’s been some minor gripes with the scheduled times we’ve had to complete our projects in the class, I honestly feel like I’ve learned more in 325 than any other video-themed class I’ve taken. Or at least I’ve learned more about how to apply those skills to the kind of work I prefer doing, rather than everything being strictly broadcast news focused.

That learning culminated in one of my last stories of the semester: A profile of Romarilyn Ralston, the program coordinator for Project Rebound.

I’ve talked about Rebound a number of times in the past, since they’re one of the organizations I enjoy following, but this time I went more in-depth with Romarilyn herself for my final project. I interviewed her and a number of Rebound scholars and volunteers at the Luncheon I attended a few weeks ago, and used that information to pull it all together.

I really like the story I wrote, and I’ve found it to be quite the confidence boost during the stressful pre-Finals week, since all of my friends on the paper have told me they really liked it too. Our Multimedia Editor, Mia, told me it was far better than anything she would have expected (which is somewhat of a dig hiding inside a compliment, but not one that’s wholly unexpected considering my lack of multimedia content generation), and the most surprising support came from my co-editor Brandon, who despite being known for his huge ego and self-love (sorry man, you know it’s true) went on a five minute tirade in our front page meeting advocating for my piece to be our dominant story.

I blushed a little bit at that one, I admit.

Though the support is wonderful, I personally liked my piece a lot even before it got its praises sung. All-and-all I thought the video I produced was awesome, and definitely a hell of an improvement than anything I put together back in my Adams Middle School news days. There’s probably some embarrassing stuff there if I go back to find it honestly, but I did learn a lot of great basics apparently.

Man, now I kind of want to do a post about my old middle school videos… If they even still exist. But that would be a project for another day.

For now, go see my profile! I personally feel like it’s a very powerful story, and I think the multimedia element came out way better than I expected.

If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. It also doubles as my Comm 325 Final Project, so consider it a look into what that class has helped me accomplish as well.

You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

It seems like I’ve really taken that “not planning on posting anything on this blog until after finals” thing to heart, haven’t I? Guess I really can’t bring myself to avoid a couple good Fire Emblem updates.

Though to be fair, two things are different this time around.

Firstly, I’ve actually finished a lot of my work for the final projects and exams I have. The only thing I’ve still got to finish is some work for my internship class, which shouldn’t be that much trouble.

There’s also work for the paper I suppose… But that’s always kind of a different story.

Secondly, this post should be really short. I know I say that a lot, but I’m serious this time around. Just watch, let’s see how quick I can get it out of the way:


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Today is the day that the Children of Fate summoning focus banner has arrived. These heroes have been built up for quite some time now, appearing as a point of attention in the calendar update a few weeks ago and showing up in the Book II story update just a couple days ago.

I enjoyed Fates a lot (besides one majorly terrible thing that kind of ruined the whole experience for me, but that’s a story for another day). One of the things that made Fates as enjoyable experience as it was boiled down to the child characters. The same thing could be said for Awakening too, but in Fates I distinctly remember a bunch of the kids being more memorable.

In fact, my friend and I spent a good amount of time leading up to this update discussing who we believed would be appearing in this banner. I actually wound up calling two out of the four new heroes: Soleil and Shiro.

So, what do these new heroes have to offer?

  • ShiroRaw Talent
    • Ryoma’s son Shiro was a character I imagined would arrive based on the general lack of lance-wielding units amongst Fate’s children cast, and I’m interested seeing that I was right. Even if Shiro wasn’t necessarily my favorite character overall. In Heroes, he comes with a Bright Naginata that grants him +4 attack and defense if the opponent initiates combat, the Swap movement skill, Steady Stance to gain +6 defense when he’s attacked and Defense Tactic, a new skill that grants allies +6 defense if they can only move two or less spaces at a time. There’s something a little off in my head when thinking that they made the character named for his ‘Raw Talent’ focused almost solely on defending rather than attacking. I don’t know, maybe I’m just biased because I don’t really like Shiro all that much, but I just think that Siegbert handles it better. Speaking of…
  • SiegbertFuture King
    • Okay, before I really get into things, I just wanted to say that ‘Future King’ is kind of a lame moniker. There’s seriously half a billion characters in the Fire Emblem universe that this could fit. Hell, related to this banner alone, Shiro could also use the title ‘Future King.’ In fact, Siegbert’s father Xander could technically be called ‘Future King’ as well. He really never becomes the king of Nohr until post-game. It might have fit Siegbert better if it commented on his nerves or fear of the responsibility he’s to inherit. But I digress, onto the character details:
    • Xander’s son Siegbert comes equipped with a Dark Greatsword that grants him +4 attack and speed if he initiates combat. He also has the powerful special attack Dragon Fang, Death Blow and Attack Tactic, which gives his allies +6 attack if they aren’t cavalier units (only 2 or less movement spaces). Frankly, I really like his skill set. Not only is he built like a long-range heavy hitter, but his new passive skill Attack Tactic really fits his character from an inherent, descriptive sense. Much more than I feel like the opposite ability does with Shiro, honestly. I like it, and I wouldn’t be too upset receiving a Siegbert. Even though I’d much rather get…
  • SoleilAdorable Adorer
    • Laslow’s daughter Soleil is probably one of if not my favorite character in Fire Emblem Fates. Or, at least, my favorite child character from Fates. She’s incredible, taking all of the flirtatious, happy-go-lucky attitude of her father (who we’ve gotten to know over two games) and putting it in a much more adorable form that manages to do everything better than he ever could. It’s a beautiful dynamic, and it’s gotten me very excited to pick up a Soleil of my own. But is she worth summoning? Well, she comes with a Firesweep Sword, preventing counterattacks on both sides, the special attack Blazing Wind to cause damage to foes all around whoever Soleil attacks and the passive skills Darting Blow, which grants her +6 speed if she attacks, and Drive Resistance, which grants allies +3 resistance during combat. The Drive Resistance skill is a little out of left field, but everything else makes her sound like a great fast attacker, which is always a good niche to fill.

I would also be remiss to not talk about the other Fates child introduced, even if she showed up the other day. But I didn’t talk about her then, so let’s give Rhajat some time to shine now.

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  • RhajatBlack Magician
    • Hayato’s daughter Rhajat is a character that I honestly didn’t want to see show up in this banner. Or… This split banner, as it were. She, alongside Caeldori and Asugi, were children of Fates characters who were actually retreads of parent characters from Awakening. That whole idea never really sat well with me in the original game, since it just felt like a strange way to shoehorn in old characters compared to just having them be travelers from a different land like Laslow, Odin and Selena. Though I suppose her appearance was predictable considering how much people love Tharja. I know I do, but Rhajat not quite as much. Either way, that shouldn’t take away from her potential usefulness here in-game. She comes with a Keen Gronnwolf green tome, which is effective against calvary, a Rally Attack/Defense movement skill, Distant Defense to grant her +6 defense and resistance when attacked from a distant weapon, and Savage Blow to cause damage to surrounding opponents after she attacks one of them.

I’ll be honest, Rhajat is the least appealing of the four heroes here, in my opinion. Ironic I know, considering she’s the most dramatically sexualized one of the lot (seriously, I joked with my friends that she’s like a pornstar in this version for some reason), but her skill set just doesn’t do it for me. I suppose in a sense that makes it better that she’s separated from the rest in a different banner.

However, that does annoy me quite a bit, as an aside.

Any sensible person seeing the collection of heroes in both of these banners with new characters must have thought the same thing as I did. Why is there one banner with two red units (Soleil and Siegbert) while there could have easily been a swap with Rhajat, making the Fates children banner contain a red, blue and green unit?

Well, the obvious answer to explain this is forcing the pay-to-play model. With two reds on one banner, there’s an increased chance of pulling the unit you don’t want. In my case, for example, I could wind up pulling a Siegbert when I want a Soleil. Though I’d be find with a Siegbert, I would still wholly prefer a Soleil, and might be more tempted to spend money to get more orbs if I lost out on the unit I wanted.

That’s a pretty shitty way to approach things, and you can tell it’s supposed to be the intent when there could have very easily been a split of the red units. Hell, Soleil would have arguably fit just as well in a love-themed Voting Gauntlet slot as Rhajat does, especially since Tharja is there filling the exact same role as is.

I don’t know, it just bugs me to see that greed factor rear its ugly head and remind me that I’m playing a generally unfair RNG-based character draw game.

That said… I have succumb to the enduring challenges of fighting against RNG this time around. Like I’ve said, Soleil is my goal, and I’ve already sunk about 50 stored up orbs into it.

Without much luck.

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Seriously, three Corrins? Come on game. I think I deserve a little better than that.

Oh well, I’ve got about two weeks to get it right, and as far as I can tell there isn’t anything else coming up that’s going to get in the way.


Alright, clocking in this post at… Close to 1,500 words. Still arguably more chatty than I expected to get with it, but much better than usual, I’d say. In fact, 1,500 words is the cap for the reflection I have to write for my internship class. So, if nothing else, this is a good comparison to use for how easy that assignment should hopefully be.

Wait, what’s that? You’re wondering where the story-based portion of this post is?

Well, there is no paralogue for these heroes. Why would there be, they’ve already gotten a chance to appear in the second chapter of Book II.

Sure, they didn’t get a single line of dialogue, and only seemed to be there to serve as a tool for Princess Veronica to throw at you, and they don’t get a paralogue mission to offer players an extra chance to get some orbs so the split banners annoyance can be offset… But it’s fine. These guys didn’t get shafted at all.

Again, I digress. We’d be here all day if I just griped about everything for the rest of eternity. It’s all just a little… Underwhelming. Anticlimactic even, considering how much buid-up there was. Which is how I described this one in my post title.

How do you feel about the new heroes? Were they who you hoped to see? I know theres a few I might have preferred, like Nina or Mitama for example. Though, do you also think the ones we got were shafted too? Let me know in the comments below.

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

I’ve begun to think of Fire Emblem Heroes like an interesting sort of social experiment, for a variety of reasons.

From what my friends who live on Reddit tell me, there’s quite a strong creative fanbase built up for the game there. People gather en masse to build character sets up in weird, interesting ways that most might not think of outside the game’s meta.

There are discussions about who’s going to be added whenever new summoning focuses approach, and reactions to those characters when they show up and inevitably get placed on tier lists.

Artwork abounds of characters who not only just appear in skimpy or cute outfits (because let’s be honest it’s a game with an anime aesthetic, so there’s plenty of it), but of characters who have gained relevance solely because they matter in Heroes. Like Reinhardt, who appeared in a currently Japanese-only Fire Emblem game but is now unforgettable as a destroyer of everything in the mobile title.

Probably the most interesting thing about the fanbase for heroes is seeing them deal with the interactions between characters from different games coming together. Never is this more apparent than during Voting Gauntlets, when artwork starts popping up of front-running units beating the crap out of each other. People pick sides and root vehemently for their favorites, only to cry out in disappointment as Intelligent System’s ‘inability to math’ screws them over.



Editor’s Note: For those who don’t know, there’s a meme among members of the Fire Emblem Heroes community making fun of the fact that the point calculations in Voting Gauntlets are screwy, making it so the two sides can be labeled as having the “same score” when the numbers above clearly show that one side is a few million points ahead.

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It’s never not hilarious.



I don’t think of Fire Emblem Heroes as a social experiment because of the community, however. I think of it as one because I’ve never seen a game that’s taken such an interesting shift in story development over such a long period of time.


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When this game came out in February, it started with a rather simple story through ten sets of missions. You, as a summoner of characters from all over the spectrum of Fire Emblem games, traveled with the Order of Heroes to stop an opposing summoner from destroying the homeland of your friends. That was about it, a fairly thin layer of skin over a random number generating summon mechanic clearly designed to make you want to spend money.

But now, about 11 months later, we’ve arrived at the release of Book II, and things are dramatically different.

Most of the extra story chapters and paralogue missions in Book I expanded upon the original premise of the game by taking you to different Fire Emblem worlds to find more heroes that you can throw your orbs against the wall to summon. However, under the surface, there was more being developed, slowly but surely.

Princess Veronica, the leader of the opposing nation, developed a partnership with a mysterious character named Loki who disguised their appearance but hoped to bring their king to Askr to fight the good fight. Prince Bruno, Veronica’s brother, is revealed to be the old ally of the Order of Heroes that provides much of the motivation for Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena. But these developments with the villains are slow to arrive, and give the game a chance to develop its characters over a long period as players become accustomed to them.

Then, Book II takes the story through a rapid paradigm shift.

The new part of the story begins with a cinematic that introduces the overall theme of this leg. New characters, allied with Veronica and clearly fire-themed, take on the Order of Heroes allied with a new character who controls ice. There’s some impressive displays of power, but otherwise it doesn’t tell you a lot.

It also turns out to just be a teaser of sorts, looking at future events as Fire Emblem likes to do. The actual story of Book II begins well before what they show you.

When you arrive at… I’m not even sure I can write the name of this land, so I’ll just say the ice kingdom… When you arrive at the ice kingdom, Alfonse and Sharena remark on the cooling magma that covers the once beautiful farmland they used to visit as children.

The first chapter of Book II pretty much goes on without any other story until the fifth map, when you first run into Princess Fjorm and King Surtr.

The two are dueling, though the fight is clearly lopsided in favor of the king. He leaves after defeating Fjorm, but leaves his assistant Loki in charge of taking care of your team.

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Defeating Loki leads to her retreat, and allows you to bring Fjorm to safety, where she joins your team to help fight against the evil monarch.

Once she’s on your side, you take on chapter 2, where you and your allies chase after Surtr.

It’s mostly a story-less approach (though it introduces a few interesting things that I’ll go into in a bit), besides the beginning and the ending maps.

The first brings you face-to-face with Veronica, now open about her allegiance with the fire kingdom.

She sends new Heroes at you over the next few battles to slow your progress, but eventually you reach the fifth map and encounter the king himself.

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His fight is a timed survival, as special magic makes the armored king invincible. You have to survive six turns against Surtr and his main allies, who all get a proper first introduction here.

If anything, this fight is arguably the representation of the opening cinematic in-game… Though it’s much less exciting than the specially created video, of course.

When you survive long enough, the Order determines that they cannot win and retreat.

Oh also, there’s a prophesy. Because of course there’s a prophesy. Can’t have a big dramatic story without it, apparently.

Minor clichéd gripes aside, that wraps up where Book II ends… For now.

To be completely honest, like I’d mentioned toward the beginning of this, I’m very impressed at how things have developed, and glad I’ve stuck around long enough to see it happen.

Over 11 months, the entirety of the game we’ve seen up to the release of Book II felt like the end-all-be-all of Fire Emblem Heroes. It was a simple game with a simple premise that delighted players by finding a basic way to throw a ton of Fire Emblem characters together.

But now, that entire 11 month developing story just feels like it was a prologue. Expositional, introducing us to the main characters and what they can do and how they interact with one another to build up to the actual chief conflict of the game: This war of fire and ice that everyone gets dragged into.

It’s kind of incredible really, thinking that all of this was likely planned in some capacity from the beginning. Granted, thinking back to a game like Fire Emblem Awakening where halfway through the story you jump ahead a few years and suddenly have a whole new story that’s the true meat of the game, it’s the kind of developmental ‘pulling the wool over one’s eyes’ that the series does frequently.

But Fire Emblem Awakening was one contained product, a single game cartridge with just about all of its main content available at launch.

For Fire Emblem Heroes, developers had to make sure players stuck with their game for almost a year to get the big reveal and find out that everything they’ve seen is just build-up. That’s a crazy feat, but one that really seems to have paid off in the long run.


Though this post was mostly intended to elaborate on why I felt the Book II story is more impressive than others might give it credit for, I did also want to touch on some of the new, interesting thing they added throughout the maps as well.

In chapter 1, there are a two new generic units that fill different archetypes from Fire Emblem games which haven’t gotten any villainous love up to this point.

Manaketes and Wyvern riders are staples of the series all the way back to the original Fire Emblem game with characters like Tiki and Minerva. The fact that they didn’t show up in the enemy armies up to this point was a little odd, though I suppose it becomes a nice and convenient excuse to say that they were added in as units from the fire kingdom who didn’t exist in Emblia.

I can respect that. Waiting long enough that you get a convenient out. Much better than just adding them in randomly a few months later like they were forgotten originally.

However, the generic units really aren’t the highlight of the new units added in. Rather, it’s the heroes that Veronica brings along, teasing the next summoning focus:

Children of characters from Fire Emblem Fates are next on the docket, which is something we knew about from previous calendar updates, but never knew exactly who would be showing up until now.

I’ll keep my thoughts abridged for now, since I’ll probably be more over-the-top and wordy later once the main banner is released… But let’s just say there’s a certain Nohrian girl I’ve got my eyes on.

Even if the way they split the heroes into two banners bugs me.

But again, I’ll save that discussion for next time.


For me, this was part two of my discussion of the Version 2.0.0 update. However, I tried to set it up so you could read them in any order you want, so if you haven’t seen the first part going over mechanical and aesthetic changes, you can look here.

Hopefully you all enjoyed me blathering on for almost 3,000 words on a mobile game once again. There’s going to be more later this week, like I said, but for now I’m going to be taking another break to work on all of my final projects and exam study guides. Gotta love this time of year.

What do you think of the Book II story? Are you as enamored with the idea of the long-term story telling as I am? Or is it just basic enough to keep you invested in the game a bit longer? Let me know in the comments below!

Fire Emblem Heroes’ Book II update – Part 1

Fire Emblem Heroes’ Book II update – Part 1

So remember a few days ago when I said I was going to be taking a hiatus from doing blog stuff because of finals coming up soon? Also remember when I said I would probably come back early if the big update we’ve been waiting for in Fire Emblem Heroes came out?

Well, it came out. So here I am, a few days late as usual, but still quiet excited about the huge volume of things added. Huge enough that I’m splitting this post into two posts, one to go over the mechanical changes and one to go over the big story additions.

It’s a large task at hand, and I’d rather not be up all night doing it, so let’s get going shall we?


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Version 2.0.0 is here, bringing with it Book II of the game’s story and some game-changing new additions. Like I said above, I go more into details on what Book II entails in this post here, so let’s dig more into what’s different about the Heroes experience from a technical level.

First and foremost, I would say the most immediately striking thing about this update is the User Interface changes, most of which contribute to making a more engaging and aesthetically pleasing experience.

Most notably to me was the menu background changes:

 

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Though these appear to be small additions, the change is actually fairly big all things being equal – and much appreciated at that. Most of the time spent playing Fire Emblem Heroes, while not specifically in battles, is spent on these menus deciding what to play and how to play it. Thus, having something new to look at all these months later is pretty wonderful in my opinion.

Especially since the new backgrounds look way better than what we had before.

The new menu backgrounds are also joined by other aesthetic differences to things like actual menu layouts and designs, including the addition of ‘Seasons’ in the main hub.

 

These seasons tie into another brand new concept introduced in Version 2.0.0: Legendary Heroes.

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Fjorm, along with just about everything else I’m talking about here today, was introduced a while back during an episode of Feh Channel that I didn’t really talk about. Mostly because I knew eventually I’d get into a long post like this once the actual updates came out.

I’ll talk more about Fjorm’s role in the ever expanding story later on, so for now what you need to know is she’s a princess from an icy land near Askr who does cool flips, buffs her allies according to the in-game season and is just generally overpowered and great.

Legendary Hero blessings are a somewhat inherently confusing mechanic that I’m not even sure I full understand just yet, so I’ll let the game explain the blunt of it for now:

 

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While I believe I understand the idea of applying a blessing to an ally who is going to be fighting alongside Fjorm during a Water season so they can get a substantial boost, what I’m still iffy on mostly ties back to some small questions that I’m sure will make sense as I actually get the chance to play with the mechanic. Where more blessings come from, whether or not the blessings last forever, whether you can have multiple blessings active at once… Things like that.

One thing I can say I understand about Fjorm is her summoning banner, which is extra special in a number of ways.

Firstly, it features a huge number of five star focus heroes rather than three or four like we usually get. Twelve to be exact.

Second, in that pool of twelve five star focus heroes, four of them are extra special seasonal heroes back from the dead. Spring Camilla and Xander return in their Easter bunny-themed attire alongside Bride Caeda and Cordelia from the June special banner. Though the two bride heroes are the ones I had personally pulled from the original, both the spring heroes are novel for my collection.

Third, not only are there a large amount of special heroes featured, but the banner has an inherent eight percent summoning chance for those special heroes. Eight percent! For context, most banners start at three percent, so eight is incredible.

Of course that eight percent hasn’t helped me out very much. I’ve only managed to pull one five star focus hero after blowing a ton of orbs, enough so that I’m probably going to wait and save up the rest of the orbs I can get with the special events going on right now for the Fates children coming in a few days.

Though I can’t complain all that much, since this is the hero I pulled.

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Spring Camilla is quite the meme in my circle of friends for her… Well, sizable assets. So it’s honestly rather hilarious to me that I pulled her, as did a few of the others in my circle. She refuses to leave us alone.


Cute ice princesses and well-endowed bunny princesses aren’t the only things that are special about this update. There’s a much bigger mechanical addition to the game that once again seems to be shaking up the game’s tier list for useful heroes:

Weapon refining.

To unlock weapon refining, you have to go through a quick story mission, but it’s relatively separate from the Book II stuff, so I’ll go into it here.

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The Rite of Blades intermission has one battle, which begins with a setup that introduces you to a mysterious girl in your dreams.

As it’s later revealed, Gunnthrá is related to Fjorm and wishes to help you prepare by gaining access to a new power.

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By following her directions, the Order of Heroes arrives at a shrine where they must fight through a number of guardians to make their way to a tablet inscribed with Emblian text.

Your team decides to take that power and use it for your gain, because honestly how could they not?

The story leading into weapon refinement is simple, yes, but it sets up an interesting addition to the game.

As the text shows, refining weapons… Well, makes them more powerful. As obvious as that must sound. However, it does so at the cost of a ton of materials, so it must do something weighty, right?

It does, in fact. Most legendary weapon-wielding heroes can make use of the refinement to give their weapons a variety of buffs.

To show this off, Eldigan has the best example of these buffs for my purposes:

Mystletainn, one of my favorite weapons of all time in the Fire Emblem universe I might add, can be adjusted in a number of ways for the right price. One adjustment gives it the effect of Fury 3 inherently, boosting all of Eldigan’s stats at the cost of some life points with every hit. Eldigan comes with Fury naturally, so he has double the boost for double the cost. One adjustment increases his health and defense while also making it so he activates special attacks faster.

These extra weapon upgrades open up lots of opportunities for new strategic character builds with some high potential. A wide range of units can make use of these kinds of upgrades, too. Minerva is another unit I own who can have her weapon refined, and I know I want to take advantage of both possibilities.


While there are a few other small but important updates that came with this version, such as Staves getting a power boost to make healing units more useful, lowered special attack cooldowns in some cases, an increased barrack size to hold more units and an adjusted stamina use in story missions… Well, I just laid it all out right here. So I didn’t think I needed to go too much more into it.

From here, it’s time to go into the story changes that came with Book II’s addition. Unless of course you’re coming from that post to this one, in which case you’ve hit the end of the double update road, bucko. Congratulations!

Though of course I’m prone to breaking my own already thin fourth wall, so I’ll let you all know that I’m planning on writing the second half to this update later this afternoon or tomorrow… Since it’s about 2 a.m. right now.

So much for getting in and out quick on this one.

Oh well, either way look forward to seeing more later or tomorrow regarding my thoughts on Book II and what it brings to the table! Plus, now that December has hit, we’re going to be getting a new summoning focus soon with some heroes from Fire Emblem Fates… Including one of my favorites, Soleil. So I’ll probably be talking about that too.

Plus, in non-gaming news, I also have probably two more stories that will be coming out in the Daily Titan by the end of the semester, and some projects I’m doing might be worth putting up here as well. Look forward to that in the near future!

My current hiatus and updated article archive

From the state of this blog currently, I imagine some of you think that I totally dropped off the grid and lost my way in the world of Pokémon, never to return to this mortal realm.

That’s not totally inaccurate, honestly.

However, Ultra Moon isn’t the only thing that’s been taking up my time. Yeah, I have been spending extra time carefully combing through it than usual, absorbing everything that’s different from the original games (something I’m sure I’ll talk about eventually), but my Thanksgiving Break had a good amount more to it.

  • I cleaned my room for the first time since the summer, which was a great personal accomplishment. It seriously needed it.
  • I got ahead on a bunch of assignment for school, including a video project I had to come to campus to work on despite it being a week off.
  • I had a lovely Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt’s house, along with a few of their family friends (including a particularly interesting Egyptian man who had to escape as a refugee during the Arab Spring crisis, super cool guy).

There were also a few things I’m sure, but honestly those were the major highlights I can think of, since the rest was relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep.

One thing I didn’t do that I had wanted to was write a few personal or more fun things here on my blog. I’ve been sitting on an idea for a Duel Links topic that’s been mulling over in my head for a few months, there’s some stuff for Gladeo and my work with Boom I’ve wanted to update for a long time and I figure it might be fun to do a ‘what I want for the holidays’ list given that Hannukah starts on Dec. 12 this year.

But I just never got around to it. Unfortunately, I might not have that much time to get to it in the near future either, since these last two weeks of the semester are going to be rather hectic with projects and exams. So, I at least wanted to put out something quick now to mention that things are probably going to be quiet for a bit.

… Unless I publish a story, of course. Or wind up having a 3 a.m. Fire Emblem Heroes binge again, which may end up happening soon with some big things on the horizon there.

Speaking of publishing stories, I actually wound up writing three articles just before Thanksgiving Break began. I meant to write something talking about it earlier, but like I said… Being lazy and forgetful came along with my relaxation.

Figured at the very least I should give the articles a little lightning round now in case anyone is curious:

  1. My friends at Project Rebound invited me to a luncheon celebrating a new donor and bringing in the holiday spirit after I started working on my multimedia class final profile on the program director, Romarilyn. It was a nice little event that I wound up writing about because we needed the space filled. You can check that article out here.
  2. On the same night that I wrote about Project Rebound, there was a four-car collision outside of the College Park building. I was the only news desk representative in the room, so I was sent out to cover it. It didn’t wind up being a super weighty story, but we got comments from the police so it was something. At the very least, it was an interesting experience doing two deadline stories in one night. You can check that article out here.
  3. The day after writing the last two articles, we got an email from Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook letting us know that the school had tallied up how much Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit cost them through things like security. I talked with him and University Police Captain Scot Willey to find out exactly how it all broke down and wrote up a nice, meaty little story about it that night. However, I wasn’t done yet, as I still wanted to get comments from the Vice President of Administration and Finance Danny Kim (since he was the guy every other source pointed me to). I managed to get in touch with him, so we updated that article the Friday before break with more detail. I even got my hands on his personal number for future use and found out that his office really liked the original article I wrote. Felt really good, honestly. You can check out that article here.

As usual, if you want to see my full archive of work for the Titan, you can look over on the right.

For now, I’m going to go back to work, since we’re on our first post-break deadline. Like I said, I just wanted to basically let the world know that I might not be all too active for the next couple weeks.

If anything, you can maybe check out my Twitter for a little more activity. I’ve been trying to do more there, and recently that’s included doing some Pokémon posts as I make my way through the game. So, you can see such gems as:

And:

Maybe that sort of thing strikes your fancy, but if not I swear I’ll be back on a more active post schedule come Winter Break with some hopefully interesting content. Probably.

Alola begins anew

Alola begins anew

It may only be a year after we were first introduced to the Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon… But as a self-proclaimed hardcore Pokémon fanatic, I simply couldn’t resist going out to get the next addition to the series on day one.

I’ll admit, it does help that my Mom agreed to help pay off half the cost as sort of an early holiday gift. I was going to do it anyway, though.

Plus, it also helps that Thanksgiving Break has officially started for me, so I have a whole week to start pouring into some Pokémon when I’m not doing whatever assignments I have.

Or when I’m not writing blog posts like this. I still owe myself one for the three stories I published the week before we left, so hopefully I won’t get too sucked into the game.

That being said, this  post is going to be short and sweet because, frankly, I’m really excited to get into Ultra Moon. Because Mega Noivern for life. Also because Alyson is going to play Ultra Sun given she prefers Solgaleo, as evidenced by her McDonald’s Happy Meal toy from the other day:

I can appreciate the glowing eyes, though Rowlet is still my baby boy so I couldn’t resist not getting him, as you can see in the featured image at the top of this post.

I know the games are going to be fairly different than the originals from all of the pre-release trailers, so now I’m going to see just how different they are, and by extension whether they’re more worth going after than the originals.

To be completely honest, one of the big aspects that might sway that decision for me is how much time and effort the Rainbow Rocket team gets. Seriously Game Freak, you better have added in the original theme songs for each villain team boss or I’m going to be so disappointed in you.

Anyway, all that said, I’m going to go play some Pokémon now. Probably expect a few comparison-type posts in the near future as I work through Ultra Moon, or at least expect a team recap by the end of my journey. I still have to decide who I’m going to use after all, since I’m not going to go with the same squad as I used my first go-around.

Those guys are special to my Moon playthrough. I couldn’t just recreate them.

It does make my job harder since there’s a lot of options that are my favorites now excluded… But I’ll figure it out. Probably going to start with Popplio this time around, I think. Because I’m not sure what other Water-type I would want to use if not Wishiwashi, and because… Well, come on.

popplio
How freakin adorable, right? Right.

Sorry Litten, you’ll get your time in the spotlight soon enough. There’s just some other Fire-types I want to give a whirl this time around.

Okay, for real this time, I’ll catch you all later. If you got US&UM like me, let me know what you think about the games! I’d love to hear your thoughts somewhere on the internet.

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

If anything, this post will have taught me that title puns can be hard.

Knowing that a Feh Channel update was scheduled last night, I’ve been saving up some orbs for a little while. While that’s slowed down my efforts to get a witch Nowi, I figured there was a good chance he announcements made during the update would be worthwhile.

Sometimes, a gamer’s intuition is spot-on.

If you want to check out the Channel update, I’m putting it up above here. Personally I haven’t had a ton of time to dissect it because I’ve been busy doing Daily Titan stuff (as you’ll see later this afternoon more than likely), but I know there’s tons and tons of interesting goodies coming in the near future.

One of those goodies happens to be relevant today, however. So that’s what we’re going to be chatting about today.

img_6508

Apparently, Intelligent Systems is keeping on the idea of “Brave Heroes” based on community preference at the inception of Fire Emblem Heroes. Frankly, I think it’s a welcome idea… Even if my favorite character has still yet to show up.

One day, Neimi. One day.

This time around, they’re taunting me too. Taunting my by including one of the best characters from the Sacred Stones that aren’t Neimi – Or, technically two of the best characters, but one will be coming later.

  • LuteProdigy
    • Alright let’s break this down really quick. Lute. Is. Amazing. From what my reddit-browsing friends have told me, Lute is really beloved and popular, which is a sentiment I tend to think I embody quite eagerly as well. She’s one of the best characters in Sacred Stones for both her battle skills and her personality, which is well-known for being equal parts cocky and quirky due to her early life living as a magical prodigy in an isolated forest village alongside her highly pious friend (and husband in all of my play throughs of the game) Artur. In Heroes, she comes with a new Weirding Tome that grants +3 speed and has a speed ploy effect. Beyond that she can rally Attack and Resistance on an ally, she has a natural HP and Resistance boost and she comes with a Resistance Ploy as well. Arguably she has the worst skills of the new heroes… But hey, sentimentality means a lot for me here.
    • Also did I mention she’s probably the only character who has a single word title? It’s pretty hilarious.
  • MiaLady of Blade
    • When the Radiance games hit Heroes a little whole ago I talked about how I have very little experience with them outside of Ike in Super Smash Bros. That hasn’t changed, so Mia isn’t really in my wheelhouse of understanding. I do really like her art in this game though, so she certainly has that going for her. She’s a mercenary (because who isn’t from these games apparently) who takes multiple sides to pay off her debts and eagerly spars with Ike whenever she has the opportunity. In Heroes she comes with a Resolute Blade that grants her +3 attack while boosting special attacks by 10 points, Luna as a special attack to be boosted, a skill called flashing blade that adds a cooldown charge to special attacks when she has higher speed and vantage. Good old reliable vantage. Can’t complain too much here, honestly.
  • DorcasSerene Warrior
    • The Blazing Blade follows the same pattern of experience for me as the Radiance titles. In other words, I have no experience playing the Blazing Blade, though I have played as Roy in Smash Bros. Amazing how that seems to tie together, huh? That said, I have next to no experience with Dorcas either. Lute gets all the love this time around, sorry man. In my research I see that Dorcas is good friends with Bartre, commonly the butt of jokes for being a useless but frequent pull when summoning. Good sign.  He does also love his family greatly and does everything to protect them though… So I guess things balance out somewhere along the way. In Heroes, he comes with a Stout Tomahawk that grants ranged counterattacks, Draconic Aura to boost attack, an ability called Fierce Stance that boosts his attack by 6 when attacked, Quick Riposte to make automatic follow-up attacks when damaged and Infantry Pulse to lower his special cooldown when he has higher health. All and all a pretty solid looking set, honestly. He seems like a great axe user, even if I don’t much care for him as a character.

Once again, the story behind the Paralogue for these Heroes doesn’t do too much to catch my interest… Besides involving Lute, of course. That said, this story-based section should go fairly quickly.

Fingers crossed.


As usual, three missions that provide nine orbs all together are here in this Paralogue – with an extra three through missions, of course.

Normally I wouldn’t say too much about the menu screen. But… Well, what can I say. I’m a bit upset that Lute isn’t on the photo for the mission listing. Or on the bonus daily items listing for that matter.

img_6509

Why guys? Why does Lute get the short end of the stick?

Anyway, I digress.

This Paralogue follows the Order of Heroes as they return to protect the same land that was under attack back when the first Brave Heroes were arriving on the scene. When they arrive, they first find Mia and Lute… Well, doing their things.

Good ol’ cocky Lute. Gotta love her.

Once the two of them are beaten into the ground, you move on to the second map, which has a nice surprise waiting within:

img_6519

Joshua returns from the Sacred Stones, bringing with him a classic gambling addiction. He’s an absolutely wonderful and fun character in his original game who has a lot of depth, so I’m glad to see he’s getting some time in the limelight again. He’s also the originator of my love for Swordmaster units. Have you seen the critical animation for Swordmasters in Sacred Stones?

It’s incredible. ’nuff said.

As a matter of fact, he’s going to get more time in the limelight soon, as it seems a new Tempest Trial is on the way (presumably Sacred Stones themed <3) where he’s going to be the reward character. Plus, his title proclaims him to be the “Tempest King.” An odd choice for his original game canon, but not all that odd if you consider he’s going to have an important role in the story of Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with him, in fact!

Unfortunately, for now he doesn’t get much more than a cameo. A wonderful, snarky little cameo. Then, once he’s gone, the rest of the story goes on without much interruption… Or excitement, unfortunately. Right up until the end when you free everyone from their contracts.

If this focus didn’t have heroes I care about from my favorite Fire Emblem game, I feel like it would frankly be a little underwhelming. Seriously they picked great characters to represent Sacred Stones.

Even if they didn’t pick the best one.

Come on Intelligent Systems, you better make things right one of these days. I’m still holding out for the best archer.


I still find myself questioning the decision to call this banner the “farfetched heroes” banner. I understand to a certain extent that they’re all quirky characters who seem to have personalities that bounce off of one another, but I still don’t know why that particular title was chosen.

I’m not going to complain too much about it, however, because I’m still hoping to pull Lute sometime soon.

Oh that’s right, I mentioned saving orbs earlier for this right? Well… I saved up about 40 orbs. Didn’t get a Lute. Didn’t get anything in fact, which is why I kind of skipped out on talking about it.

Please game… I won’t give you shit for skipping out on Neimi anymore. Just love me again. I promise to keep feeding you the orbs you crave.

Alright, when I start giving weird ultimatums to a video game, it’s definitely time to go to bed.

Like I said before, I’ll likely be posting again tonight about two articles I’ve published in the paper, and otherwise I’ll likely be busy writing yet another article for the paper. Because there’s never any rest.

Except for Thanksgiving week next week, which will be a godsend. Plus, it will probably give me the opportunity to do a deeper dive into the Feh Channel update, which I’ll really have to do sooner or later.

Until then, tell me what you think of these new heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited about Lute as I am? Or has Mia caught your eye? Or Dorcas for that matter, can’t leave the big, strong man out of things.

Okay for real, time for bed. Catch you all next time.

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Snuggling with death

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Snuggling with death

As we come down to the wire, just a week away from the release of the games facilitating our second romp into the Alola region, I can’t help but reflect a little on the fact that I’ve probably missed out on talking about the build-up trailers more often than not. It’s a shame given how much I absolutely enjoyed talking about everything leading up to the first game, but I guess I can once again blame the somewhat hectic semester I’ve had.

However, I’m not going to let that fact stop me now. I’m ready to talk some Pokémon, because if anything is going to get me to talk about the games again… It would be this Pokémon in particular.

Normally I would hide this under a non-spoiler read more line… But this trailer isn’t so much that it’s worth being considered a spoiler, in my opinion. It’s just one Z-Move being given to a Pokémon we already knew existed.

It just so happens that this Pokémon is arguably my favorite Alola monster, as I’m sure some of you must remember from all of my posts oh so long ago.

As a real quick aside, even finding this old post was a little strangely nostalgic to a year ago when my Sun and Moon hype was super real. Is it possible to be nostalgic for something only a little more than a year ago? Perhaps in the age of the internet, I suppose. But either way, I still remember seeing Mimikyu for the first time while wandering the campus of El Camino College, where I was taking abnormal psychology course and relentlessly playing Pokémon GO.

Good times.

When Sun and Moon actually came, Mimikyu turned out to be far better than the cute little gimmick it presented itself as in all the promotional materials, and my little Charlotte demolished many a Hydreigon in her heyday. I still love her… But I probably won’t be using her in my run of the Ultra sequels. Typically when I replay the third game in a region, I’ll use a totally different team. That way I can get experience with a wider variety of the available Pokémon in that region, come to care about them more and all that.

I haven’t quite decided who my new team is going to be beside the fact that I’ll probably pick Popplio as a starter. Simply because I can’t think of a water type I would use if I’m not using Wishiwashi.

But that’s another story for another post. Here we’re all set to talk about Mimikyu’s new Z-Move, the reason why even if I don’t use her in the story I’ll definitely continue to use her in online play:

Let’s Snuggle Forever

I’ll admit, it’s a… Less than enticing name for an attack. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily snuggle with Mimikyu any time, but I don’t really envision that being the attack I would suggest using against an enemy.

Luckily, the move itself surpasses whatever lousy naming convention it might have gotten. Full of love for its trainer, Mimikyu takes its Play Rough (presumably – given the Fairy-type Z-Move pose and sound effects of the inevitable attack) to the next level by mixing in its spooky capabilities to sneak around and catch an opponent off-guard. When the enemy Pokémon least expects it, the cloth-covered monster leaps out of the treetops and envelops that poor soul, trapping it in a more intensely unseen attack before spitting it out and shooting it off into the distance.

On the one hand, this attack is very cute. It captures both the cute Fairy side of Mimikyu desperate for attention and love by the way it slips out from behind its trainers legs, but it also captures the unclear reality-warping Ghost side of Mimikyu that can sneak around and cause immense damage with the creature under the sheet.

On the other hand, I can’t help but get somewhat deeply contemplative about this attack due to the aforementioned reality-warping sensibilities Mimikyu carries. In Sun and Moon, Acerola’s trial is based entirely around chasing Totem Mimikyu through an abandoned minimart, where everything concludes in a strange back room full of Pikachu-themed posters and a battle with the powerful ghost.

When that fight is over, Acerola reveals that there is no back room to the mart, and says she feels a chill before walking off. One of the best things about the moment is seeing Mimikyu in the background walking behind the building as your character doesn’t seem to notice. However, even at the time something didn’t sit totally well with me about it.

Just how much power does Mimikyu have?

Was it Mimikyu alone that was able to create the physical illusions of some kind of pocket dimension while also being able to appear seemingly everywhere at will? Or did the other spirits – the Gastly and Gengar living in the abandoned building – lend their support in creating such a spooky environment?

The new Z-Move doesn’t necessarily help clarify this, if anything it just makes it more interesting to consider. Not even just when seeing that Mimikyu’s outfit expands exponentially to take in a target as big as a Tyranitar.

The literal implication of the attack is that Mimikyu’s true form under the cloth is able to release more of its true power when having an opponent trapped alongside it. But there’s a less literal implication too. If Mimikyu is able to create its own pocket dimension for your fight in the abandoned minimart, is it also able to trap the Pokémon it pulls into its cloth into some kind of a pocket dimension? Or, at least, is it able to trap the opposing Pokémon in a mental prison of sorts, letting it imagine its been sucked into a world of endless darkness, only for another creature to come and knock its lights out repeatedly.

Perhaps it’s just me romanticizing Mimikyu too much, but I like to imagine this attack is less an overpowered Play Rough and more something akin to the relentless time-bending mental torture of Itachi Uchiha’s Tsukuyomi attack from Naruto.

That’s about as geeky an anime reference as I’ve made here on this blog I think, but the point still stands. It’s the kind of thing I like to imagine Mimikyu is capable of.

Again this wound up being a much longer discussion of something quite short than I had intended, but I just really like the underlying suggestion of Let’s Snuggle Forever. Plus, I’m personally ready to snuggle with Mimikyu forever in a week when the game’s come out, so I suppose that’s part of what led to this being so much rambling.

I would still love to hear what you all think of this Z-Move, or honestly anything at all Pokémon-related as we make our way into Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release week. Let me know in the comments below!

November 7, 2017 Article Published

Don’t know what it is exactly about this semester that has led to me posting about all these fairly important things I’ve been working on later than I should… But in this case it’s probably safe to assume my statistics exam had something to do with it.

Anyway, that’s not important. What is important is the fact that I wrote another article the other day, an article on a pretty significant topic in fact:

CSUF’s president Mildred Garcia took a new job and announced she would be leaving her current position in January.

That’s right, even though Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit was our big thing for the semester, life certainly hasn’t slowed down all that much since he came. The departure of the campus’ head official after nearly six years would certainly qualify as big news too, I’d say.

As soon as we heard about Garcia leaving to take a job as the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, we immediately hit up Strategic Communications to see if we could sit down with her and talk about it. Much to our surprise, she was available to do so despite things obviously being busy thanks to her announcement, and that afternoon I went up to the top floor of College Park to do an interview with her and Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook alongside my EIC Zack, our photo editor Katie and our multimedia editor Mia.

From there the story is pretty straight forward. Went back down to the newsroom, transcribed everything and wrote an article outlining why she’s leaving, what she’s going to be doing now and how the end of the semester is going to be affected by her departure. That includes the overall search for a new president that will begin after CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White comes to campus to gauge the community (date to be determined) and the planning and implementation of a new University Strategic Plan.

Plus whatever else is being planned for CSUF’s 60th anniversary, of course.

I’m likely going to be following up on this article for some more general deep coverage on the abundance of president searches in the CSU system. Or at least that’s my current plan if I can get it while working through all of my classes, but until that comes you can check out my article here.

It even includes the multimedia piece put together by Mia, though I’ll admit It’s a little cringe-y hearing me acknowledge Garcia as she talks. Not very used to doing video interviews still, it seems. If videos aren’t really your thing, just seeing Katie’s photo of Garcia looking bittersweet about the decision is an incredibly powerful image.

You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!