Now here’s a special event I can really sink my teeth into.
Today a special event called the Tempest Trials dropped in Fire Emblem Heroes. Like the text I screen captured above says, the event has introduced a new game mode in which you fight through a series of maps that bring to the table an element highly characteristic of Fire Emblem games as a whole: Permanent character death.
Or at least, permanent death in a certain sense.
Before I get into that, however, I figure I should hit this particular discussion in what I would consider a ‘chronological order.’ In this case, starting with a discussion of how the event fits into the game’s lore. After all, this more massive undertaking of an event does present an interesting addition to the continual plot of the game.
To explain the event in storied terms, one new Xenologue has been added:
The Xenologue only has one mission (with three difficulty levels that each give 3 orbs – leading to a net 9-orb profit as per convention at this point), and it isn’t a particularly hard mission. At least, it isn’t particularly hard for the units I have. However, there is quite a bit more plot surrounding this one mission than what a supplemental map usually receives.
Here’s the gist:
The ever-present antagonist of the game, Princess Veronica of the Emblian Empire, has teamed up with a mysterious new shape-shifting entity called Loki… Who for now apparently prefers to take the form of Anna.
I’ll just leave the Marvel‘s The Avengers crossover joke here. There’s plenty I could do with it, but it doesn’t quite seem worth the energy right now.
Loki uses Veronica’s assistance to bring forth the Tempest, a magical vortex meant to bring about chaos by… Well… I’ll let Loki (in a different form – because shapeshifting) explain what it is.
Yeah, essentially that. Tearing the worlds of Fire Emblem games apart, slamming them together in screwy, cacophonous ways. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. So on and so forth.
The mission ends with the Tempest opening and a new special hero, Masked Lucina (or Marth, as per her canonical cover when she arrives from the future in Fire Emblem Awakening – though that plot is also plenty complicated to explain so I’ll leave it there), coming forth to help fight off the despair and chaos brought about by the disaster.
And that, in a nutshell, is all you need to know. Worlds are colliding and heroes from all those worlds are coming together to fight against Veronica’s contracted heroes in a series of maps. Or at least, mostly worlds from Fire Emblem Awakening, since you’ll see in a second that the 3DS title is the focus of this particular iteration of the event.
Although the actual method of opening the Tempest is left vague at best, the overarching narrative is admittedly pretty engaging considering it’s mostly just supposed to outline a new challenging game mode in a mobile title.
After all, that’s exactly what all this plot has led up to: The Tempest Trials game mode.
Over the course of two weeks, players can enter the Tempest Trials and put their stamina on the line to take on a number of successive battles, the number being outlined by the difficulty level they choose.
For example, choosing the highest caliber Lunatic difficulty presents a series of seven battles to fight through. These battles, as I teased at before, implement permadeath for the teams chosen to take it on. The damage units take carry over from one battle to the next, and if a unit dies they don’t return to help you for the next stage.
“But Jason, expecting players to take on seven battles with just four heroes is ridiculous,” I hear you saying from behind the comfortably fluorescent screens through which you’re reading this text.
Well, you’re right, and that’s why the difficulty levels also outline the number of teams you’re permitted to use during the particular challenge you’re undertaking. Here’s how it works:
It’s battle number five. You enter the field battered and bruised, your units not quite strong enough to take on the challenge presented. After just a few hits, you lose. Game over. Those four units you started your journey with are permanently dead.
However… They were just Team 1.
Enter Team 2, freshly composed of units that aren’t quite in your A+ squad, but that just so happen to be a great combination in their own right. Now, it’s Team 2 versus the world.
But it would be unfair for the game to throw you back into a challenge without in some way acknowledging that you did your best with the fatigue of successive battling, now wouldn’t it?
That’s why all enemy units start off with slightly less health when you begin to use a new team against them. It’s a small gesture, but an appreciated one. Your Minerva thanks the game developers for implementing such a system as her axe cleaves straight through the Gaius who has slain your first squad with much less trouble.
Maniacal laughter rings out, echoing across the darkened blue walls of your room, upsetting the silent stillness of the Super Mario Galaxy poster set up above your long unused desktop computer.
All is good.
In a fully hypothetical sense, of course.
In all seriousness, at the highest difficulty level, you get four chances. On top of that, the permadeath element only applies to your current run in the Tempest Trials. Once that challenge is over, you get all of your heroes back.
In a free-to-play title where the heroes you have are received through what is essentially a random chance game of color roulette, the merely pseudo-permanent nature of this inevitable death is greatly welcomed.
Personally, I only have enough units to make two good teams with one team of middling strength. So… For me, I basically have two chances to get to the end. Radical.
At the end, you come across Princess Veronica herself, fighting alongside her contracted heroes with all the same overpowered tendencies as she has had in the game’s story mode.
In my few attempts at the Tempest Trials thus far… I have yet to beat this final map. Luckily, the game still rewards you with points even for a loss, and there are two weeks or so for me to figure out the best way to win.
That provides me a nice Segway into the next leg of this journey: The rewards.
Obviously a big challenge event like this can not expect to gain traction without implementing a series of prizes players can receive. If you ask me, the prizes offered up for the Tempest Trials certainly seem to be worth going after.
After each victory or loss in the Tempest Trials, you receive a certain amount of points based on the factors outlined in the lefthand picture above. When you receive a predetermined amount you get a prize like orbs, as seen in the righthand picture above.
While there is a certain economy of scale in that the more points you accumulate the more saturated your prizes will be (more orbs, more crystals, more feathers, etc.), there are some prizes that are clearly what you’re meant to aim for. For example:
A four-star Masked Lucina is the prize at 6,000 points, with a five-star Masked Lucina similarly available at 30,000 points. There are also two sacred seals available at 20,000 points and 50,000 points, with 15 additional orbs available between 50,000 and 99,999 points.
Currently I’m sitting at a solid 400 points based on my cumulative efforts. It’s certainly a long road to trek.
However, it will be all worth it for the new unit. Lucina wearing her Marth mask in Awakening is a pretty big source of my imagined personality preferences for her when I play through the game, so I’m looking forward to having the special, meaningful character in my roster.
But I digress.
Though that’s about all for my coverage of the Tempest Trials as a whole, it’s also worth mentioning that a new summoning focus has come with it.
None of the heroes in this focus are new, but they are all popular characters from Awakening who provide point bonuses if you use them while fighting through the trials. I might not personally spend my accumulated orbs on this, but it is a nice addition.
Alongside starting to do work for my Internship and beating Fire Emblem Echoes, this event should help keep me rather busy for the next couple of weeks. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it. It’s only been out for a few hours, but I essentially stayed up until well past the witching hour to pull this post together, so clearly I quite enjoy the prospects of the event.
How do you feel about the Tempest Trials, if you play Fire Emblem Heroes? Are you excited about the challenge? What games and special characters would you be interested in seeing coming in as prizes in future iterations of the event – assuming they continue to release new versions in the future, of course.
Let me know in the comments below! Because for now, I’m off to get some sleep. The automatic scheduler will take care of putting this out at a more reasonable hour.