Month: August 2017

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

Before Fire Emblem Heroes hit mobile app stores, there was a promotional “Choose Your Legends” event that had fans of the Fire Emblem series vote on heroes they were interested in seeing in a game which had only just recently been teased at a token Nintendo Direct for the series.

When the voting period ended and the results were released, not much was very surprising about the results. Taking the top rungs of the ladder for the men were Ike from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as well as Roy from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. For the women, Lyndis from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening took top billing.

In the six months since the game has launched, we have not heard much regarding these four chosen heroes, the most popular in Fire Emblem history if you believe in the sanctity of a community-driven vote. Democracy at work.

But now we know just what has been cooking for these fan favorites: A new distinction as “Brave Heroes,” bringing along with them a new look, new weapons, new skills and a certain extra sense of prestige.

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Okay, technically we knew about these Brave Heroes a couple days ago when a new episode of Feh Channel was released…

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Which you can watch here if you’re interested.

But that came out so close to the actual release of these guys that I figured it would be worth waiting to talk about them.

So, now that they’re here, what are the Brave Heroes we chose packing?

  • Lucina – Brave Princess
    • Lucina wields the legendary lance Geirskögul, which gives her +3 defense and gives allies with physical weapons within 2 spaces +3 attack and speed during combat. She also comes with the special attack Aether, boosting her damage while recovering health, and the skills Sturdy Blow (to add attack and defense during initiated combat) and Drive Speed (to grant her allies +3 speed within 2 spaces during combat).
  • Roy – Brave Lion
    • Roy wields the legendary sword Blazing Durandal, which gives him +3 attack and adds +1 to the special attack cooldown of his enemies if he has a higher attack stat. He comes equipped with the special attack Galeforce, granting him an extra turn if he initiates combat, and the skills Steady Blow (to add speed and defense during initiated combat) and Desperation (which allows for immediate follow-up attacks if he’s below 75% health). Roy is also a cavalier now.
  • Lyndis – Brave Lady
    • Lyn wields the legendary bow Mulagir, which gives her +3 speed and nullifies the bonuses of magic users from skills like Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X.’ Her special skill is Draconic Aura, a consistent damage booster, and she comes with three skills: Swift Sparrow (to add attack and speed during initiated combat), Sacae’s Blessing (disabling counterattacks on foes with swords, lances and axes) and Attack Smoke (which inflicts -7 attack on foes within 2 spaces after combat). Brave Lady Lyn is also the first Bow Knight added to the game, giving her vast mobility and range.
  • Ike – Brave Mercenary
    • Ike wields the legendary axe Urvan, which gives him an accelerated special attack cooldown and makes it so consecutive attacks deal 80% less damage. Fun fact, 80% is a hell of a lot considering this is a game where 40 damage is usually a one hit kill. His special skill is Aether just like Lucina has, and he comes with three skills: Steady Breath (granting him +4 defense if attacked and adding +1 to his cooldown), Beorc’s Blessing (which nullifies the Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X’ and more bonuses from flying units and cavaliers) and Threaten Defense (which lowers opponents defense by 5 within 2 spaces after combat).

I mentioned it before, but the results of the Choose Your Legends event are pretty obvious in hindsight. On the one hand, I can totally see why:

  • Lucina is arguably the most popular character from Awakening, the game that saved the Fire Emblem series from extinction a few years ago. She’s the central tie for essentially everything that happens in that game, and that makes her a very interesting and dynamic character. Plus, she got a chance to be in Super Smash Bros 4 (which as you’ll see is a common theme in this list).
  • Roy was one of the two characters, alongside Marth, who bolstered the popularity of Fire Emblem in the United States. They both appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and got American audiences interested in the previously obscure RPG, enough so that the next game in the series was released here. Speaking of…
  • Lyndis is a main character from the Blazing Blade, which in America was known simply as “Fire Emblem” because it was the first game in the series to be released there. In fact, though I’m not entirely sure considering I haven’t personally played the game, I believe Lyn is the very first character you encounter in that game as the main character in the tutorial stages. Add to that her legendary status as a one-hit-knock-out assist trophy in Smash Bros. and you have someone quite memorable to many fans.
  • If Lyn is considered quite memorable, Ike is truly a character anyone who has even heard of Fire Emblem can recognize. As a main hero in two Fire Emblem games and a fighter introduced into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he has had quite a strong presence in much of the series’ history. In fact, much of his popularity probably stems from the memes that Smash Bros. spawned. Not only is he a cool heavy-hitting character that uses a flaming sword, but cries of “Aether,” “We like Ike” and “I fight for my friends” characterize a large breadth of jokes that get passed around for the game. Ike even appears in the opening title screen for Heroes, and the long stretch of time before he was added to the game had many players asking for him to appear.

But on the other hand, that inherent popularity of these heroes makes their appearance here entirely too predictable. In a way, I would almost argue that makes it a boring list of characters to highlight despite how much “fan favoritism” balances that out.

However, I would also argue the way the heroes look and their awesome skills help to balance that out even more. They seriously look and play amazingly just from the offset, so even if I feel we were jipped by not giving other heroes the chance at alternate skins (of which Lucina now has three for whoever is keeping count), at least they’re still worth getting.

Though if I had my way, those abundant votes for Neimi in that original voting session would have held more sway. Just saying.

Another special thing about this new summoning banner comes from the fact that the game is trying something new with it: Allowing players to get one of the Brave Heroes for free.

This unprecedented bit of generosity helps play back on the community-driven aspect of the Choose Your Legends event. Players chose these heroes to represent their favorites, so they all get to have at least one as a thank you for playing the game.

Who did I choose, I hear you ask?

Well…

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Though it was a tough choice between her and Ike, I had to go with Lyndis. Namely because she’s the first Bow Knight introduced into Fire Emblem Heroes. The horse-mounted archer class is probably my favorite in the series (again dating back to Neimi in Sacred Stones), and on top of that it fits perfectly onto the horse-themed team I’ve been building for some time now.

I’ll probably blow some orbs trying to summon the rest of the three available Brave Heroes, but I likely won’t go crazy over it. They’re all cool and limited-time rare, but I still feel like I should be saving my orbs for a rainy day after a number of recent binges.


Now onto what is strangely still one of my favorite parts of these updates: The story.

This time around it’s pretty bare bones, so those of you who don’t enjoy my endless ramblings are getting lucky.

This Paralogue comes with the usual assortment of bonuses you would expect. Three difficulty levels to get nine orbs, three extra missions for more orbs… But this time, it also comes alongside a log-in bonus to help players get 20 orbs.

In terms of the actual story, this Paralogue is frankly more fluffy than most of the others on our ever-growing list.

And I don’t mean fluffy as in “Let’s watch Anna try to take some click-bait swimsuit pictures,” I mean fluffy as in “This Paralogue is literally just a nod to players about this being a player-driven choice and event.”

It begins with a rather thin premise of enemy forces gathering in an old temple in Askr.

As it turns out, that temple was the original resting place of the weapon that you, the player character, now wields that gives you the ability to summon heroes from the various worlds. So then, why is the Emblian empire stationing themselves there if the one weapon the temple is known for has already been taken?

Well… They don’t really explain that.

They just explain that Brave Heroes, who are exceptionally stronger than normal heroes because of the strength behind the love and belief of others that resides in them (which is another thin way of saying we all voted for them), are there now.

“A legendary rite” say the writers with a wink and a knowing grin.

Interestingly enough nothing goes any deeper than this. Everything about this Paralogue can essentially be summed up as “Hey look at this fan service we’re giving you, hope you enjoy the free stuff.”

Don’t know what it is with me and fake quoting things tonight, but it’s certainly happening a lot.

That aside, in the end you just go through the three battles:

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But nothing of substance happens until the end when the four are together and talk in vaguely meta terms about being chosen.

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And that’s all she wrote.

However, before I move on, I did want to mention an interesting point tying the four heroes together. In their selected descriptions, each of them mentions the fact that these forms are based on their fathers in one form or another.

Lucina is wearing armor similar to her father’s armor. Lyndis is utilizing the bow and horse riding skills of her father. Roy is using his father’s sword and rides a horse like him as well. Ike, finally, is using his father’s axe to battle.

This is arguably a small detail, but I think it’s a really cool way to add some extra world building into the mix. I can always appreciate some extra world building.


The Brave Heroes summoning focus isn’t the only way Intelligent Systems is making good on the Choose Your Legends event from before the game’s launch.

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The eight highest ranked heroes (four men and four women, including the regular forms of the previously discussed brave heroes) will be pitted against one another in a voting gauntlet.

I personally only have a Roy and a Camilla in my hero storage banks, but neither are leveled up at all, so this will probably be the first gauntlet in which I don’t actively support a hero I use to gain extra points.

That said I’ll be supporting Ike to start. Because I’ll be honest, it’ll be quite the shock for me if he doesn’t wind up winning.

While I won’t personally be buying into them, there are two summoning focuses in place to summon the characters in question:

 

 

My orbs are better spent in other places I would argue, even if a regular Ike or a Hector are heroes I could stand to have eventually.

One thing I think is interesting to note is the fact that of the eight available heroes, six are red units (five of which being sword users specifically). The other two are axe wielders, which means they’re inherently at a disadvantage. Though using the units themselves merely gives you a benefit and isn’t required, thus making it so their one-on-one disadvantages are essentially null, I still think it says something that so many of the community’s favorite units use swords.

It probably says that everyone thinks swords are cool. Which is true.

Swords are great.


Finally, I also figured it would be worth mentioning that the Heroes developers are doing some interesting outside marketing/engagement using players of the game.

The most prominent of those efforts is putting out tweets and giving rewards out if enough people retweet it. This is the second time they’ve done it, and unlike the first time I actually decided to do my part this time around:

They also have a game set up on the official Fire Emblem Heroes website called a Quick Hero Battle mode that lets you choose units that have an advantage over a unit they throw at you repeatedly for 30 second bouts. You can play the game twice a day (unless you post about it on social media, in which case you get more play time) and the current prizes are phone wallpapers of the Brave Heroes.

Don’t have too much to say in regards to these, I just think it’s an interesting little outreach that was worth at least bringing up. Hell, anything that can help encourage me to keep more engaged in social media is probably a miracle in and of itself.


Now, with all of this said, I officially take my leave. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so it would probably do me some good to get more sleep than I’m giving myself.

What do you think of the Brave Heroes? Which one is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments below!

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Let’s talk about this Duelist Kingdom event

Let’s talk about this Duelist Kingdom event

Its been a while since I gave my other mobile gaming obsession any love around here. While I still play Duel Links just about every day, nothing particularly exciting tends to go on in the day-to-day breadth of the game besides the occasional new/returning  duelist unlock events and traveling duelist events.

Until today, when we gained access to the “Set Sail for The Kingdom: Duelist Chronicles” event. This one is pretty special and cool, so I wanted to give it some praise in the hopes that we see similar events down the line.

Now for those of you who do not play Duel Links, there are two kinds major events that take place on a semi-regular basis.

  1. New Legendary Duelist unlock events: Once in a while a new Legendary Duelist character will take over Duel World, the hub area for Duel Links. That character will invite players to collect an item specific to their personality or canonical storyline in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in bulk. These items can be traded for the chance to battle that character at various difficulty levels to accumulate points and win special prize cards. The points typically go toward earning players a variety of basic rewards like gold and gems for pack openings, but the points also unlock the character you’ve been battling at a certain level.
  2. Traveling Duelist events: Though these are generally more hated than the Legendary Duelist unlock events, traveling duelists are a pretty common way to shake up what players can find in the game for at least a week at a time. Unlike the new Legendary Duelists who reside in the hub world’s character portal, traveling duelists appear randomly in the world similar to the extra reward-granting Vagabond. The main problems most people have with these events are that the characters have a random chance to appear, but they also have a random chance to drop their exclusive cards, making it hard to get a good amount of special cards one might want. Plus, they appear in Duel World at a random difficulty level, meaning if you get a lv. 30 encounter as opposed to a lv. 40 encounter you have an even further decreased chance to get a special card drop.
    • For example:
      • Mokuba Kaiba drops cards that support dragon decks in general, though he specifically provides support for Blue-Eyes White Dragon and gives players access to special high-level cards like Darkflare Dragon and Frost and Flame Dragon.
      • Arcana made a pass as a traveling duelist in the build-up to Yami Marik appearing in Duel World. He added some spellcaster support to the game, namely around Dark Magician (a card which he had a special alternate art for).
      • Joey Wheeler occasionally goes through cycles as “Super Joey” and gives players access to support cards for Red-Eyes Black Dragon, such as Red-Eyes Spirit and Red-Eyes Insight.
      • Mai Valentine has appeared once in an event similar to Super Joey’s as “Elegant Mai” with card drops to support her token Harpie and Amazoness decks on top of Vennu, Bright Bird of Divinity, a powerful ritual card.

Though both of these reoccurring event-types do provide some variety and reason to keep playing the game, they do tend to get stale over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always jump at the chance to get extra materials and new cards, but the RNG associated with these time sensitive events – particularly the traveling duelists – almost makes them more annoying than appreciated.

Not that saying so stops me from playing them adamantly of course.

So, what does the Duelist Kingdom event do differently?

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It all starts in the hub world.

While every Legendary Duelist unlock event adds a big aesthetic centerpiece to the main hub world, this ship actually serves more of a purpose than simply bringing up the event’s informational page. This ship actually delivers you to a mini-game within the game, something that can best be described as a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime-themed board game.

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The board game itself is simple. As you defeat standard duelists in Duel World, you receive dice fragments. Seven dice fragments can be used to roll a die labeled one to three. The number you land on indicates the number of spaces you can move on the map, and each space hosts a different event:

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Item Spaces give players prizes such as gems, gold or gate keys.

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Support Item Spaces dole out a special die that specifically allows players to move one, two or three spaces at a time of their choosing without having to waste dice fragments.

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Coin Spaces give out “Millennium Coins,” which I’ll elaborate more on in just a bit.

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Forward Spaces move you forward by the number specified alongside the symbol, simply enough. There is also an equivalent Back Space that does the same thing but backwards.

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Episode Spaces play out scenes from the anime using the in-game engine of portraits talking to each other. There are 10 scenes to see through this method, and you get an additional small prize after each viewing.

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Standard Duelist Spaces let you duel a regular duelist to obtain some Millennium Coins. The difficulty of these fights increases as you move through the game mode and they appear to have new, unique decks for each fight.

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The Vagabond Spaces offer more challenging duels against real player-generated decks. Even if you lose these fights, you still earn Millennium Coins.

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Legendary Duelist Spaces are story-driven battles that prevent you from advancing until you win a duel. These spaces allow you to choose to fight at lv. 20 difficulty or at lv. 40 difficulty.

Part of the reason these Legendary Duelist encounters – and the event as a whole by extension – are so special ties back to how they present a story. Advancing through the event actually plays out the events of the Duelist Kingdom arc in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In a sense, this allows you to play along with the original story using characters that have been introduced into the game over some time now.

Duelist Kingdom is probably the only arc in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that I personally remember fondly, and it is arguably a memory that has kept me interested in the card game for all this time. Thus, it feels pretty special for me to experience, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has that connection.

While playing through the storyline by itself is already a really cool feature, the way Konami engrains the story into the actual duels against these Legendary Duelists makes everything even better.

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Not only do these Legendary Duelists appear on a series of maps in the order they’re originally encountered, they have pretty unique decks that can be as challenging as a competitive player-vs-player deck.

However, rather than letting players get away with using their most overpowered decks to blow through the competition, Konami made it so you benefit by experimenting with different deck combinations that you might not otherwise try.

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The extra missions associated with each duel net additional Millennium Coins if you follow the guidelines. These guidelines contribute to the feeling of playing along with the original story by encouraging you to use the character and some of their key cards that were used against the opponent. Though doing so often leaves you at a disadvantage when playing at the lv. 40 difficulty, the reward for doing so is worth it.

Speaking of said rewards, I suppose it’s time to dive into Millennium Coins.

Though these coins are arguably the most important thing to collect in the Duelist Chronicles, what they do is actually rather simple. For every 30 coins you collect you get the opportunity to play the Card Lottery and earn up to 10 rewards at a time from a large prize pool.

While gems and gold are always fine prizes in their own rights, the main draw to this system is the cards you can collect. Though there are some basic cards like Celtic Guardian, more rare and dope cards like Kuriboh, Toon Barrel Dragon, Horn of the Unicorn and Union Attack are also available.

Just about all of the cards are recognizable for anyone who has fond memories of the series and Duelist Kingdom in particular, so it’s a nice goal to work toward.

On top of the card lottery, you also win prizes by clearing maps. When you beat one of the five maps you get something, and once you complete the final level you get to start over and earn a whole new set of rewards.

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The most noteworthy of these zone rewards comes when you beat Pegasus for the first time: You unlock Yugi Muto as a playable character.

Once delegated to only being a traveling duelist, Yugi Muto has been requested to be playable by countless players in the past. After all, he is the main character of the show, even if most people remember his Yami form better. Plus, with a new character comes a fairly substantial influx of special cards and gems through level up rewards, which are always an appreciated addition to the game.

The fact that this event doubles as a character unlock event while bringing something completely new to the table through a special board game makes it easily the best thing I’ve seen added to Duel Links in a long time. It’s fun, it’s creative and there are enough prizes to keep players coming back, or even encourage them to use those stockpiles of duel orbs to restore standard duelist battles for more dice fragments.

Personally, I hope more Duelist Chronicles happen from here on out. If nothing else I would love to be able to have the same experience with parts of Yu-Gi-Oh! that I don’t remember that well so I can learn more while having a good time.

After all, is there anything better than that?

August 28, 2017 Article Published

I’m pretty exhausted.

Between adjusting to new classes, a couple doctor’s visits for things like physicals and working on the Daily Titan, I already feel like I could use a break. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that this one week alone has felt like a month in its own right.

At least watching people read the title to my article and pick it up the school paper throughout the day has been a significant little energy boost.

For those of you that are at CSUF, I’m sure you have all noticed the super cool newspaper gracing every shelve and pick-up booth today. At least I hope you have all noticed. However, for those of you who are not on this campus, I figure I should show you all what’s going on:

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Though the beginning of school has been a major part of my stress and exhaustion lately, certainly working on this big story has been a significant contributing factor, despite it all being worth the effort in the end.

I’ve done at least eight or more interviews within the last week alone to put this piece on controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos potentially coming to CSUF and how close the process is to securing it. In the end I’d argue I accumulated enough content to fill up five completely separate articles on different subjects related to this event in the works.

Thanks to my assistant Amy for some help transcribing and to our Editor in Chief Zack for helping me work through putting it all together in a cohesive way, I’d say things turned out pretty wonderfully.

The story essentially begins with my delving into the College Republican club’s plans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus and confirming that they have been doing what they said they have been doing. That meant going to every source that club president emeritus Chris Boyle mentioned to confirm that they had been in touch with the club on the subject.

Once all of those confirmations were in place I was able to delve into what got us started on this investigation, a petition put online by the Students for Quality Education (SQE) organization on campus. While the fact that a member of the Administration supposedly leaked them this information ahead of time despite the College Republicans not making any formal announcements as they finish the process is another story, for now there was not enough information available to really delve into it.

They hope to put the message out to the school’s President Mildred Garcia and a number of others that they don’t want alt-right speakers like Milo on campus, though as I explain throughout the piece it really isn’t up to the Administration to decide that.

That said, the next big chunk of my piece revolves around how campus organizations and clubs, registered through Student Life and Leadership, can get guest speakers on campus to hold events. It’s an interesting process in that it’s almost entirely up to the club themselves to work out any contracts and agreements with both the speakers and the University, so everyone else essentially acts in advisory roles more than anything else.

With all that said, I end off on a note that the College Republicans feel this kind of speaker has been called for by a large amount of conservative-leaning students on campus, and some of their reasoning is interesting to consider. From here on we simply wait and investigate more, as you know we’ll be looking to get our hands on whatever contract is signed between the College Republicans and Milo to confirm what we understand is the day he will be coming.

If that information does end up panning out in the final agreement, it’ll be a pretty big story in itself. So stay tuned.

If you want to check out my article on Milo in its entirety, you can find it here. You can also check out my full catalog of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!


While this is clearly a moment of self-promotion, as I’ve been chatting about my front page article for this weeklong edition, I also wanted to spend a moment talking about how cool the rest of this paper is from all of our elements put together.

Our new layout editor did a great job re-arranging the banner at the top of the paper this semester to make it look way more clean and pretty. The cut-out teaser next to the paper’s name is also a neat touch, in my opinion.

Our new Illustrator has been killing it so far this semester with an abundance of drawings in just our first two issues alone. This one for Milo Yiannopoulos is pretty spot on, and the way we have it so that the podium looks like it continues all the way down the stack of papers creates a nice effect.

I’ve also got to give some props to Brandon for his article in the Front Page 1 slot next to mine, as it’s a really good little investigative piece that easily could have been Front Page Dominant if it had as potentially appealing an eye-drawing visual or name to accompany it. Unfortunately Milo happens to be one of those figures that sells papers, but the hard work he put in is really great either way.

Between all of this and more, like an opinion piece on NASA post-eclipse and a reflection on the CSUF Massacre in 1976, I’d have to say this issue is one of my favorites that I’ve had the chance to work on in my two semesters (plus two weeks) as an editor for the DT. It’s just a really solid paper.

Plus it’s on the shorter side and didn’t keep us here until 2:00 a.m., which is hopefully a trend we can keep up with once our daily production starts next week.

In fact, I’d recommend checking out our entire issue this week, which you can see on our digital Issuu archive. I’d say it’s definitely worth a read.

August 21, 2017 Articles Published

Happy solar eclipse day everyone!

For those of you who are somehow unaware, a total solar eclipse is happening in North America today, which NASA says will leave 14 states in the U.S. totally dark for two minutes in the middle of the day. Unfortunately California is not one of those totally dark states. We do get a partial eclipse at least, so with special glasses I’ve been able to see the sun look like a crescent moon.

Which by itself is pretty awesome to think about really.

However, I’m certainly not the expert in the subject, so for all of your cool space stuff needs I’d say go check out NASA’s website directly. They’ve got a bunch of cool information and photo galleries, so it’s definitely worth a look.

In the meantime, this cool astro-phenomenon happens to come on the same day as the first day of the Fall 2017 semester. Summer is officially over and classes are beginning, but nothing suggests that better than the 2:00 a.m. Daily Titan deadline we went through last night/this morning.

Yeah… Hell of a way to start off the semester. Good thing I have a fairly late starting class on Mondays this time around.

The reason we went so late more or less boils down to the special insert we had. On top of an 8 page normal paper we also put together a 20 page extra “welcome back” guide. That was the real time suck, adding in enough stories to fill an extra 20 pages when we only have enough staff available for the minimum amount of work. I feel especially bad for our two copy editors who had to read and re-read half a billion stories on their own.

Luckily this is a weeklong issue, so we only had to put up with it for one day this week. Now we’re free to deal with new classes and getting accustomed to a scheduled life again.

That said, even though I’m pretty exhausted as I get ready to make my way to school again for day 1, this issue was nice in that I actually wrote two articles for it.

First, I wrote an article about CSUF President Mildred Garcia’s annual Convocation Address. It’s sort of like a State of the Union-type deal where she’ll update the campus community on what’s been happening over the last year and what’s going to happen going forward into the next.

Though the content of the event sometimes tends to lean more toward fluff and school propaganda, in my opinion, there was definitely some newsworthy stuff in it. This year marks Cal State Fullerton’s 60th Anniversary, so there was a lot of talk about celebrating that and bringing in ex-Titans from when the school was brand new.

She also mentioned that she will be announcing a new overarching strategic plan for the University at next year’s Convocation Address, as they need to spend the rest of this year… Actually coming up with it. The fact that part of this speech was used to announce that an announcement will be happening in 2018 was certainly strange as a concept, but the current five-year strategic plan has affected the school quite a bit, so just knowing that they’ll be working on a new one is pretty newsworthy in itself.

If you want to check out that story in its entirety, you can see it here. There’s something about it that I’m actually going to be investigating for our next week-long issue, so stay tuned for some of that.

The second story I published for this issue, and quite frankly the one I care about more personally, relates back to Project Rebound.

I covered Project Rebound when it first came to CSUF about a year ago, and I would still argue it’s one of the better stories I’ve ever put together. Not only was it one of the more in-depth and long articles I’ve written, but it also got an overwhelmingly positive reception – especially from the people in charge of the program.

They’ve still got that first article pinned up on the wall of their office, in fact.

While I meant to go back and talk with them more last semester, Eric Canin kind of wound up being a bit too much of an overwhelming force in my life and I didn’t have the chance. This semester, however, I was made aware of an orientation-esque event being held for new and returning Rebound scholars on campus, so I went and covered it.

I got some great quotes from the event of course, but I also got plenty of fodder to take back to our Features editor for some potential profiles. Just about everyone in that group has a really inspiring story honestly, so I’m definitely going to have to work on getting him in touch with Romarilyn to try and do something to get those stories out there.

The event was also quite nice in that it was probably the only event I’ve covered where I wasn’t necessarily a “fly on the wall” as much as usual. After that first article went live I apparently made a good enough word for myself that Romarilyn and Brady introduced me to the group a number of times while I was there and even encouraged them to talk with me. While I didn’t wind up getting a lot of them to for this article in particular, the sentiment was quite nice by itself.

If you want to check out the Rebound story in its entirety, you can see it here. It’s super long, since I honestly just banged it out real fast and knew we needed extra content to fill the welcome back guide, but I’d say it’s worth the read.

You can also see all of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves

I’ve spent most of the day out in Fullerton covering a Project Rebound event for a story I’ll be publishing in the Daily Titan’s first issue insert on Monday. The event started at 9 a.m. so I had to get up pretty early to drive out, and then devote plenty of time to covering what was happening.

Frankly, I’m pretty tired after finishing it all and could use a bit of a break before jumping into more interview transcription. I’ve probably transcribed close to 2 and a half hours with of speech in the last couple of days so I’m a bit burned out on it.

Luckily, Pokémon has me covered in the quick distraction department.

The reveal of Lycanroc’s Dusk Form earlier this month was the first really substantial piece of information we learned regarding the upcoming releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, more new information was apparently dropped during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Pokémon World Championships today.

And you know I’m all over talking about anything and everything Pokémon.

So if you’re anything like me and down to put the upcoming semester’s work down for a bit, let’s journey into some new business regarding our second venture into Alola.

Continue reading “New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Plot lines, Pictures and Z-Moves”

Fire Emblem: The Broken Spirit

Fire Emblem: The Broken Spirit

Fire Emblem Heroes finally did it. I finally know how it is to feel like a broken man. The game has sunk my metaphorical battleship. Game over, man. Insert other overly-dramatic “woe-is-me” sentiments here.

For those of you who are just tuning in, last time on Dragon Ball Z we were given a brand new Hero Fest banner featuring the illustrious Ike, Ninian, Julia and Genny. Like the easily excitable young lad I am, I quickly began pouring my stockpile of orbs into this banner considering it had such a short run time and starts with an increased chance to summon a 5 star focus hero.

Why not? I figured any team I have would vastly benefit from having the all star heavy hitting Ike, the powerful dragon dancer Ninian or the fan favorite healer Genny.

But then the rot set in. Many, many summons have gone by since the event started and I’m all the way up at having a 6.56 percent chance of seeing a five star focus hero.

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For those uninitiated in the game, that is quite a long time going at it without seeing a five star appear. Almost, some might argue, a ridiculously long time.

On top of that, the new swapped four and three star summoning chance makes it so ‘energy pulses’ indicating the summon of a higher leveled units appear more often. The more those appear the more heart attacks I have thinking I’m about to get the unit I want, only for those hopes to be dashed when it’s just a 4 star I already have. Like Mae.

Seriously, the Hero Fest banner has given me Mae twice. I like Mae, don’t get me wrong, but why would you do that to me game?

Gah but who cares, I once again ask myself in the not-at-all-dramatically-ironic-third-person, the event only lasts for a week, so what if I blow some orbs now? I’m playing a game based on RNG that wants me to spend money without explicitly saying it. Besides, the Tempest Trials are going well and there’s lots of bonus orbs from log-in bonuses, special missions and more that are available. I can just go back to hoarding some orbs again before the next crazy cool banner dro-

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NOPE.

GUESS WHAT, SACRED STONES IS HERE, Y’ALL.

Talk about a god damn slap in the face.

I’m sure I’ve gone on record about this before, but Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has to be my favorite Fire Emblem game. It was the first one I ever played and definitely holds a special place in my heart.

Thus, now I’m torn between giving up on this Hero Fest that has a lot of investment in it already and instead saving my orbs to jump onto this new banner with heroes I absolutely love and adore.

In other words, I now know how it feels to be my friend Jonathan back when the dual Echoes banners dropped in the midst of the first summer banner. Remember that huge orb binge where all my friends and I got Delthea except for him? Good times.

On the bright side, this new banner will be here for more than two weeks, giving us a lot more chances to summon on it considering the aforementioned orb bonuses floating around. However, on the flip side, Hero Fest only lasts about three more days, which makes it so I have a harder time deciding whether or not I want to dump more orbs into it now and potentially screw myself out of Sacred Stones heroes later.

That’s the conundrum I’ve been wrestling with for the last 24 hours or so, ever since the video talking about the four new heroes arrived.

… Sighs. Deep breaths Jason. Keep this up and next thing we know your whole angry rant on how Revelations ruined Fire Emblem Fates will be cluttering up this post too.

Despite my agony and bellyaching likely entertaining a fair amount of you in the crowd out there reading this, I’m sure my first world problems aren’t the only reason people are sticking around to read this dribble.

So let’s get into the usual expositional explain-y type jazz.

After all, despite the poor timing of everything, Sacred Stones is my favorite game in the series. Thus, even if it’s left me a heaping pile of a conundrum, I’m still hella hyped for the characters we’re being given.

  • SethSilver Knight
    • Serving as the token ‘Early appearing overpowered cavalier’ unit in Sacred Stones, Seth is a general from Renais who injures himself protecting Princess Eirika at the beginning of her journey. Despite this, he continues to serve her and her brother Ephraim as they travel the region hoping to reunite the four other kingdoms against the Grado Empire. Seth holds a few special places in my heart. For one, the name ‘Seth’ itself has over time become one of my favorite names, and he was the one who introduced it to me some years ago. He also fits a succinct ‘unrequited love’ archetype that always manages to steal my heart, as he loves Eirika but feels he can’t say it due to her being of such a higher birth, no matter how kind she is to him. I always hook them up anyway because it’s clearly the best option. Third, he absolutely demolishes the Arena in Sacred Stones. You can grind up so much money with Seth alone that it’s ridiculous, and for that he’ll always be awesome.
    • Notable Skills: Seth is interesting in that he seems to be built like a very defensive cavalier. Though the ruby sword he wields exacerbates the blue weakness he’ll be facing, the fact that he has Fortress Defense (raising his defense at the cost of some attack power) shows that he’ll clearly be around to tank hits more than he’s going to deal them out. In fact, he’ll be able to swap in place of his allies, tank a hit and then lower the enemy unit’s attack and defense by a substantial amount in the process. He’ll definitely be an interesting character to mess around with on my cavalier team if I manage to summon him.
  • TanaWinged Princess
    • Tana is Innes younger sister, a Frelian Princess who fights as a pegasus knight trained in the art of the Triangle Attack alongside fellow pegasus riders Vanessa and Syrene. If mentioning the Triangle Attack isn’t enough to make you feel elated while thinking about Tana, or frankly any other pegasus knight from early Fire Emblem games, I don’t know what will. I will say that it’s ironic to see her appear alongside Seth given that I tend to pair Tana and Ephraim up quite frequently as well. That means Intelligent Systems has added my love interests for both the Renais twins in one banner. Tana also holds an interesting distinction as having different recruitment means depending on the path you take. With Eirika she simply joins her force, but with Ephraim you have to save her from being captured in a dungeon (on the same level you find Amelia I might add, though I’ll get to her later). I personally like the story element in Ephraim’s side better, though take that with a grain of salt as it is possibly due to the shipping elements involved.
    • I also figured I would mention that out of all the character designs for these heroes, Tana’s new look is the one I dislike the most. Don’t really know why to be completely honest, I just kind of dislike it. Maybe it’s the hair?
    • Notable Skills: Overall, Tana seems like the most forgettable of these four added characters in terms of the skills she got. Her legendary lance Vidofnir (Gee, another lance pegasus unit… What a shocker) gives her defense if she fights units with physical weapons, she has the ever coveted Moonbow right out the box, she gains buffs to speed and defense and she comes with a new skill Guidance that allows infantry units to move behind her or ahead of her if they’re already close, essentially. It seems strange, but seeing her utilize the skill on the Lunatic level of their third mission spells out exactly how tricky it can be if used right. She has a bulky build like Seth, but I don’t typically associate pegasus knights with bulk so… I guess we’ll have to see how that goes.
  • InnesRegal Strategician
    • Just an aside before I get into Innes as a character… I’ve been mispronouncing his name apparently. I’ve always pronounced Innes as “Eye * ns” with a silent E, but in his character introduction in the trailer dropped yesterday he referred to himself as “In * Nes.” I don’t know, that kind of messes with my head if I’m being honest… Though I’ll probably keep thinking of it the same way I always have.
    • That aside, Prince Innes is Tana’s older sibling and renown sniper/tactician from Frelia. Along with his hired hands Gerik and Tethys, he also hopes to end the way with Grado but eventually must be rescued from a siege by Eirika. Honestly, the mission where you recruit Innes in Sacred Stones is easily one of the most memorable to me, and Innes is such a powerful archer that it’s hard not to use him once you’ve got him… Even though Neimi is definitely still my preferred bae when it comes to archers. Girl kills it as a bow knight while he’s off just being a plain old sniper. Seriously I like you Innes, even if my love for you L’Arachel isn’t in the game, but why couldn’t you just be Neimi.
    • Notable Skills: Innes probably has the most interesting build of all the new heroes in that he’s clearly designed to be a mage killer just like his original game counterpart. He’s likely going to have a decent-to-high resistance stat boosted by Fortress Resistance, and although that ability lowers his attack, the Iceberg special attack will grant him huge attack buffs based on his resistance stat. Add onto that a legendary bow, Nidhogg, which will give him +6 to all stats if he has all his allies surrounding him during combat and a, frankly, negligible use of Cancel Affinity likely there to cover tome users like Robin, and you’ve got a pretty solid fighter all together. Even if he isn’t the archer I want.
  • AmeliaRose of the War
    • Oh Amelia. Amelia, Amelia, Amelia. You’re no Neimi, but by god are you the closest thing to her. Seriously, Amelia is probably my personal second favorite unit from Sacred Stones. That mostly stems from a combination of her easter egg story appearance early on in the game, her cute and sweet personality despite a somewhat tragic backstory, the possibility of her recruitment in both Eirika and Ephraim’s storylines and the interesting finite window for recruitment when you do find her that adds more value to the relationship she can build with Franz (who I always pair up with her cause they’re so dang cute). Plus, if nothing else, the fact that they made Amelia an armored knight in Heroes validates my choice to make her a General every time I play through Sacred Stones. Hell, give the artist bonus points for keeping the design where axes used by generals are attached to the unit’s hand by a chain. That’s a super dope attention to detail. She’s top of the list for units I’ll be after in this banner, hands down.
    • Notable Skills: While sentimental value is my primary drive for pining after Amelia in her newest appearance, it definitely helps that she looks like she’s going to kick so much ass if her stat distribution is done right. As an armored knight unit she’ll undoubtedly have great defenses that will be boosted by the low cooldown special ability Sacred Cowl. With a Slaying Axe in her hands, that special cooldown will be even lower, allowing her to tank more long ranged attacks more often. Plus if her health stat is high enough she’ll certainly be able to make use of Earth Boost to gain more defense, and the new ability Armor March allows other armored units to move as easily as regular infantry, which is pretty crazy. Really good stuff all around, it seems.

These units are great additions, but… Seriously. Where is Neimi. I know I’m probably the only person on this planet that actually wants to see her and I’m beating a dead horse by now… But I’d say I’m allowed to have one dumb and silly thing to really complain about.

Though, I also question whether it would be more disheartening if she did appear in the midst of my Hero Fest/Sacred Stones conundrum…

Who knows. Either way, here’s hoping she makes her way to us in one way or another soon. The hope continues to live on, everyone.

With a Grand Hero Battle featuring Valter slated for later this month, maybe we’ll be seeing even more of an influx of Sacred Stones content in the near future.



Editor’s Note:

Boy, now that I’m re-reading this portion on the characters, it occurs to me just how much I have to say about all of them. This is probably the most I’ve written about any of the new characters in this game, in fact, and I could probably do it no matter who they added. I’m sure some people will call my investment weird or creepy or whatever, but Sacred Stones was my first venture into what has become one of my favorite game series of all time. Without Sacred Stones being a part of the Ambassador Program for those who bought the Nintendo 3DS before it’s initial price drop, I might not have ever gone out and bought Awakening, which truly cemented my place in the fandom.

It’s kind of crazy how much I love this game… Maybe I should go back and replay it soon.



We’re already like 2,200 words into this sucker, so let’s get going on Paralogue story, shall we? I promise I’ll try to show more than tell.

There’s the usual affair of available battles, missions and rewards added by this Paralogue, but since I spent so long gassing up the game I figured it would be a disservice not to talk about the levels in detail this time around.

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  • 10-1 is relatively straight forward. In Eirika’s campaign of Sacred Stones there’s a mission where you need to survive a number of turns as enemies constantly spawn around you. So, this is a level where enemies constantly spawn around you for a number of turns, forcing you to survive or kill everything on screen. The mission actually gets rather tough on Lunatic mode, but with the right units it’s no big deal.
  • 10-2 is based on a level I remember particularly well as one of the first missions in the game you take on once Eirika and Ephraim join forces again. I remember that mission well for the enemy unit wielding an Excalibur tome you can steal behind a fellable tree, recruiting the third pegasus knight Syrene and for fighting against summoning mages, one of my favorite units from that game. In Heroes, the mission is kind of a joke, however. Really easy to take down and not much story, as I’ll go into.
  • 10-3 is actually a level I don’t recognize particularly well. From what I can tell it’s either based off of Renais Castle, where the real twins grew up and later liberated, or it’s based off of Rausten’s capital Mansel. I’d be more willing to bet on the prior, but frankly I’m just not too sure. It could be a totally different option, frankly. Either way this mission proved to be the most frustrating at Lunatic, as it really showed off the power that Tana’s new skill Guidance can hold. Warping Amelia or Innes from behind a wall was kind of a crazy strategy and I had to use a Light’s Blessing to get the extra reward on this one.

I’d also like to note that the Sacred Stones music running throughout the three stages was pretty damn nostalgic to me and pretty much brought me right back to that place of wanting to go back and play through the Gameboy Advanced game all over again.

But I digress, as it’s story time ladies and germs.

From the first few seconds, this Paralogue proves itself to have more going on than you might expect. Considering it follows after the nude hero hunt that was the two summer banners, that’s a welcome surprise indeed.

It starts with the usual affair of Princess Veronica setting up her contract with the heroes, but this time something gets in her way that she wasn’t quite expecting.

Out of the love and respect he holds for Eirika and Ephraim, Seth is able to really prod the tiger and try to get at her true inner workings despite the fact that he’ll be working for her. Though it’s small, the interaction brings up some interesting questions about just how powerful the contracts Veronica uses are and about the nature of where she comes from, the place she’s Princess of. It’s a subject that I don’t believe has been broached past the typical good vs. evil “they’re the bad guys trying to hurt us” fair.

Then things get more interesting when Xander shows up again.

Yeah that’s right, Xander! I was pretty taken aback when his portrait suddenly appeared. He played a semi-significant role by showing up in most of Veronica’s army matches when you fought against her specifically, but apparently they’re keeping up the canonicity of his being on her side… Even if he’s clearly not as brilliant here as he is in his own universe given some of the dialog.

Though Seth continues to exchange ideals with the opposing team, the second mission is definitely way more fluffy. It boils down to Innes and Tana arguing about her being up at the front of the battlefield because Innes wants to protect her even though she wants to prove herself.

Not a very exciting thing to talk about even if the character development is amicable for those who have no idea who the characters are.

However, the third mission brings things right back up to 100.

I don’t know how many pictures I can just straight up screenshot and use from this game without getting into trouble, but for this exchange I just feel like it’s poignant enough to include in its entirety.

I’m not sure if that feeling just stems from Seth being the distributor of justice or if I’m genuinely really interested to see the story writing team inject some actual character intrigue and commentary with regards to the traditional villain character’s story, but either way I actually felt a little bit enthralled reading some of the exchanges in this Paralogue.

Maybe I’ve just seen these characters in action for so long that getting to watch them flesh one another out is fascinating to me. As someone interested in both writing and video games, I’d certainly be willing to ascribe it to that.

From that point everything seems to be about what you’d expect, however.

Innes expresses his dismay that you had to help him and his friends out of a jam:

Then all is happy and good. The end.

OR IS IT?

That’s right, if one character’s character development wasn’t enough for you, now we have some semblance of overall plot progression to enjoy as a post-production following the mission.

The Anna-imitating trickster god Loki from earlier main story missions appears once again to show that the venture into Sacred Stones territory wasn’t just an exercise in finding new allies and fighters. No, this time the game’s villains had an aim.

That aim was finding the sacred tome Naglfar, which is actually the dark tome wielded by Sacred Stone’s overarching villain Lyon, childhood friend of Eirika and Ephraim corrupted by evil stone/dragon magic.

Because what isn’t corrupted by evil magic from a stone or from a dragon in Fire Emblem?

Though they don’t elaborate much further on the usefulness of Naglfar in place of some suggestively abusive exchanges between Loki and Veronica, just the fact that the story missions and Paralogues continue to ramp up a bigger narrative story in this free-to-play mobile title is frankly just interesting enough to keep me coming back for more.

Good job Heroes devs and writers. You made up for sexual deviant Anna. I’m proud of you.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes. Yes I did summon on the Sacred Stones banner. A full 20 orb summon I might add, since the free first summon essentially gave me a five orb discount. What did I get for my troubles?

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Nothing but tribute fodder and heart attacks.

You don’t think I’d bury this so far down here if I got anything important, do you?


I will take this moment to add an aside and say that although I expressed a lot of frustrated flailing back and forth earlier in the post, I’m actually not all that upset with these developments. I was for a little while when I first heard the news, don’t get me wrong, and my emotions from that moment are genuinely expressed up above since I wanted to log those thoughts for posterity, but overall my feelings are honestly much more demure and even glad.

Oh, and I already know I’m probably going to focus more on Sacred Stones with perhaps one more shot at the Hero Fest. Cause it has already burned me too hard.

In the end, I love these characters, so how could I possibly be that mad at a free game for adding in characters that I love?

Though I can still be fake mad at them for not adding the one character they know I want. I know that they know that I want Neimi to show up and they’re holding her from me intentionally. I can feel it.

But anyway, dumb conspiracy theories aside, that’s all there is to this update. Let me know what you think of the new focus heroes or of the ramping story that seems to be getting told in a long-form narrative. I’ll be interested to hear all of your thoughts and theories in the comments!

Interviewing on Location

Interviewing on Location

My work with Gladeo this month has me investigating more technical jobs than I have since the summer began. I’ve started to do my research into being a database administrator, a system analyst and a network architect specifically.

I wound up scheduling a good amount of my work today since I’ve been busy with orientation for the Daily Titan the rest of this week. Early on this morning I spoke over the phone with Tom LaPorte, who does work with databases for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) Nova.

However, this afternoon was a bit more special in that I got to do my interview on location. That location happened to be one of my favorite places: The DWA campus in Glendale, California.

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My dad worked at DreamWorks for a number of years and made plenty of friends while he was there. What kind of a journalist would I be if I didn’t use those connections where I could?

I talked with Scott Miller, who does system analysis among a variety of other roles in both the behind-the-scenes and audience-facing aspects of technical work.

While the conversation was wonderful, equally wonderful was the chance I got to explore the DWA grounds. I did it fairly often back when dad worked there, but being able to leisurely stroll around on my own a number of years later was great. After all, I haven’t been since the Asian American Journalists Association Trivia Bowl in 2015.

I talked about my time at the Trivia Bowl last year, but I wasn’t really blogging the year before. So in case you were curious, the Trivia Bowl was held at the DreamWorks campus that year. Now you know.

Exploring the campus is generally one of my favorite things to do because of how beautiful it is there. It’s seriously like a high class park that happens to have buildings for work on it. Sometimes I almost feel like it’s akin to an open-air art exhibit.

So, I figured why not share some pictures of a bunch of the cool natural architecture that has been built up there? After all, I’m sure not many people will get the chance to see it themselves.

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Honestly that’s all I wanted to do here tonight, spread the word on how beautiful the DWA campus is for those who might not get the chance to see it.

And humble brag about the cool thing I got to do, if I’m being completely transparent.

While I’m still waiting for my Gladeo pieces from June to get published (since they’re going down whatever spaced out pipeline has been planning out beyond my control), expect to see some more DreamWorks-focused pieces also sometime down the line.

I also put in a message to my bosses today that I’ll be keeping on with the internship into the Fall semester, so I’ll likely keep having more to talk about for some time.

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

As promised, here we go again with the Fire Emblems. Because of all the work I’ve got slated this week between DT orientation and my Gladeo internship, I decided to make this a larger overarching post regarding lots of stuff that’s going on in the game right now. It’ll be easier for me that way, rather than splitting things up into three smaller posts, and I’m sure it’ll probably be easier for anyone who actually pays attention to these notifications on social media.

Speaking of, shoutouts to Kaleb for reminding me to treat my Fire Emblems to a nice dinner, and to Gerry who’s probably going to try summoning as soon as he sees this.

Now without further adieu, let’s get going shall we?



The Starter Support event

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The Starter Support event isn’t a new happenstance in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes. What it entails boils down to a new summoning banner called the Hero Fest, which has an increased chance to summon strong and highly desired heroes, as well as an influx of extra orbs to help summon said powerful heroes.

Though I didn’t pay it much mind before, this time around I have tried my hand at the Hero Fest.

We’re only a few hours in and the banner has already hurt me.

As I mentioned in my previous Fire Emblem Heroes post, I did not partake in the previous Hero Fest. However, the content of this banner was extremely enticing from the moment I opened up the game:

  • IkeYoung Mercenary
    • Hails from the Radiant series, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
    • A powerful sword-weilding red unit that holds the sword Ragnell, giving him a built in long-distance counter, and abilities to make use of his high attack stat as a means of buffing his power further.
  • JuliaNaga’s Blood
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
    • A green tome unit who wields the Book of Naga, helping her serve as an effective dragon killer alongside the powerful special attack Dragon Fang.
  • NinianOracle of Destiny
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
    • A blue dragon unit who also has the ability to dance for allies, giving them a second movement or attack option during one turn. Also comes packed with Fortify Dragons, allowing her to increase the stats of adjacent dragon characters.
  • GennyEndearing Ally
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Gaiden and it’s remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
    • A colorless cleric unit who can use the Gravity attack to slow other units to one movement space per turn and who comes with the rare Wrathful Staff, giving her staff attack similar damage calculations to regular weapons.

Seriously, all of these heroes are great! Even if Genny is more of an intrinsic fan-favorite level of great as far as the unofficial hero ranking lists are concerned.

It’s hard to pass up Ike, an intense and widely popular swordsman; Ninian, a blue dragon that has an ever-coveted singing ability; and Genny, hands down my favorite character from Echoes. I can pass on Julia, however. Nino and Summer Elise already fill the niche she would try to take up more than well enough.

The Hero Fest banner increases prospects of summoners pulling these focus heroes by increasing the initial summon rate from 3% to 5%. That may not seem like a lot, but in a game where summons are totally based on the random number generator, that 2% makes a pretty big difference in the end.

In fact, those three desirable heroes with a boosted drop rate is such a great deal that I decided to start blowing my orb surplus already. I know I keep bringing up my surplus like it’s a child I’m frivolously wasting away or something, but as I’ve said before it really is more of an issue to me mentally. The safety associated with having lots of orbs is one of my personal idiosyncrasies when it comes to FE:H.

Unfortunately the used fruits of my labor have not blossomed into any flowers of brilliance based on the first big binge I undertook.

For context, I did my first two summons with all five orbs just to boost the rates of getting the focus Heroes overall, then stopped summoning green heroes as, like I said, Julia is not in my sights this time around.

While having a second Eirika is cool, as is getting my hands on new characters with Mae and Athena… Overall most of what I got was either garbage or skill inheritance fodder.

Feels bad, man.

On the bright side, the other part of the Starter Support event is a log-in bonus of two orbs a day for ten days. Not necessarily consecutive days I might add, but it’s going to be consecutive for me. Add those free orbs to the six-month anniversary free orbs AND the orbs that we’re going to be getting from the next Tempest Trials (to be discussed later), and thinking it over does admittedly make me feel less bad about the desire to funnel orbs into the Hero Fest banner.

Whether you take the positive or the negative approach to looking at summoning, here’s hoping things wind up going well down the line. For me and for everybody else putting their money on the line for the next week!



The Version 1.6 Update

Editor’s Note: A couple of the things technically associated with this update were items that I discussed in my last post about the six-month anniversary of the game – namely the changes to the summoning system. A lot of the reasons for updating the game tied back to the fact that it hit that milestone, after all.

Thus, I’d recommend going back and taking a look at that post for some of the summaries of things that have changed. I’m going to be talking about some new ones of course, but that’s a good place to start.img_5861

In regards to what has been changed in Version 1.6, the biggest thing first and foremost, besides the summoning alterations, is probably the addition of the Arena Assault game mode.

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Arena Assault sits alongside Squad Assault as a challenge requiring players to have plenty of powerful units to show their worth. Although Squad Assault focuses on playing through a series of story mode maps and Arena Assault focuses on playing against teams put together by other players, both follow similar ground rules.

In the Assault games, the aim is to beat a number of challenging fights in a row. For the two Squad Assault maps (as a second was added with the 1.6 update), this entails five story missions. For the Arena Assault game, this entails seven battles against player-built teams.

The catch is that once you beat a round with your team, the units on that team are unusable for the rest of the challenge. Thus players need a large collection of powerful units to truly succeed, as just having one ultra powerful group of units won’t help when they get cycled out of usability.

Beyond featuring different battles, Arena Assault offers quite a few other differences compared to its predecessor. Namely: Special items.

These items are awarded to you for completing runs of the Arena Assault and have a variety of cool effects. One restores all of your unit’s health whenever you need it. One gives each of your units an extra space to move. One allows them to take a second turn in a round. One buffs all of their offensive and defensive stats for a battle. So on and so forth.

According to the chart we were given, when you win three matches against teams with lv. 35+ opponents, you earn one item. Five matches earns you two items. Seven matches earns you three items. Simple as that.

You can only take three of these items with you per-run of the Arena Assault, so collecting and using them sparingly is going to be the name of the game. However, I can see them being very useful in the right circumstances, especially since you get more rewards the further into the challenge you manage to get.

Just like in the regular Arena, the higher your winning streak is, the higher your overall rank will be. Both will allow you to receive goods at the end of a season, each of which which lasts a week at a time.

Your rank at the end of each season earns you both Hero Feathers and a new item called Sacred Coins. While the use of these Sacred Coins has yet to be unveiled, I’m willing to bet there’s going to be a store that will open after the first season ends that will allow players to buy special items for future runs.

On top of that, there are going to be daily missions available for participating in Arena Assault runs:

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Requiring players to get through a certain amount of battles consecutively may seem unfair to some extent… But considering the Arena Assault games cost literally nothing to participate in (unless you decide to use your special items), it’s definitely a nice way to provide some extra goods over a long period of time.


That just about sums up everything in regards to Arena Assault, so let’s move into the second big addition of the Version 1.6 update: The Catalog of Heroes.
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Here’s an addition to the game meant to scratch that “Completionist” itch hiding out in probably just about every gamer out there.

The Catalog of Heroes serves as a database housing the information of every hero in the game based on the amount of heroes you personally have seen or summoned.

Heroes you haven’t had any interaction with whatsoever (not including battling them) are completely unavailable for you to look at. Heroes who you’ve seen through means like story cutscenes are available as silhouettes with names, but not much else.

For heroes you have personally summoned, however, you get a bit more.

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The screen you can access with heroes you’ve summoned give you a couple of things to do. Not only do you get the names and miniature biographies of the character in question, you also get to see their portraits and battle sprites at all times, plus you can hear whatever noises and soundbites those include. The new and cool feature of the Catalog is that it allows you to reread the character’s summoning text and the text you unlock when you bring your five star unit up to lv. 40.

The Catalog of Heroes boils down to being a slightly interactive checklist, letting you keep track of which heroes you have and have not gotten access to during your time playing the game.

On the one hand it’s an arguably negligible addition if you don’t care much about collecting. Rereading the text from one-time only events is cool, but otherwise most of the other things the feature offers were already available if you still have copies of units in your barracks.

On the other hand, if you are a collector, having a comprehensive list of characters in one place is actually super dope. There are little visuals cues included that fans of the Fire Emblem series will appreciate, namely the fact that characters are displayed in order of appearance. Both for games and for characters specifically.

For example, Marth and his merry band in the original game appear before Alm and Celica’s armies in the second Fire Emblem game. Yet there’s also organization within the games, as you can see with Fire Emblem Awakening, in which the order goes from Chrom to Robin to Lissa to Frederick to Sully… So on and so forth.

While I’d say the feature is neat and visually appealing, I’m personally not super concerned with collecting EVERY single character considering the sheer amount of characters and the degree of randomness required to summon them. I appreciate the addition and I’ll probably use it frequently enough, but I wouldn’t call it a game changing addition.

For me personally, at least.


Finally, just like last time a major update rolled around, I’ll handle the smaller-scale updates in more of a lightning round format.img_5862

  • The boosted hero merit cap is pretty dope, since it means each hero has the potential to provide an extra 1,000 hero feathers. Never a bad resource.
  • Having a card to represent the Log-In Bonuses are cool and all, but it’s purely aesthetic. Nothing too weighty here.
  • Toggling units in the Training Tower is something I took note of early and took advantage of very quickly. Seriously, especially when you’re doing things like the monthly ‘Beat level 10 with only x kinds of units’ missions, this is an immensely helpful way to get the best bang for your buck while training.
    • I also figured I would add that there’s a new way to look at your list of teams while building them on the Allies screen, but since I didn’t see it anywhere on the update logs I felt like it seemed to fit alongside this change.
  • I haven’t noticed a strength adjustment in the Training Tower as of yet, but I guess that’s probably useful.
  • Again, a change in experience and skill points in either the Arena, the Training Tower or both isn’t something I’ve noticed, but I’m sure it’s helpful.
  • More aesthetics, this time on the settings screen. Ohh. Ahh.
  • The idea of skipping teams with no members when selecting what team you want to go to battle with is a relatively small change, but it’s a nice quality of life improvement all things considered.
  • I don’t have the Summer Gaius, but I guess maybe he was just too sexy for the game’s good. Who knows.

Now, even with all of that out of the way, I technically haven’t actually hit every single update as of yet. But that’s only because the final piece of this puzzle takes the form of my next overarching topic of conversation:



The Tempest Trials: Reunited at Last

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So obviously this event isn’t active as of the time that I’m writing this. It starts tomorrow, but I’m going to be off working most of the afternoon so I probably won’t have a lot of time to write about it then.

I could stay up really early into the morning to talk about it, of course… But considering that’s what I’m doing right now, I don’t feel like it’ll be the best plan of action for me to do two nights in a row.

Luckily, we preemptively know just about everything that’s going to be different about this cycle of the Trials, so I’ll be able to discuss my thoughts without having to experience it. I’ve already slogged through two previous entries in the series for some background, after all.

In case you want to catch up on my adventures through the trials, you can here for the first and here for the second.

The second version of the Trials made the overall experience much easier by fixing things so that enemy teams would be easier to take down over time, even after your teams start to get worn down.

This version promises to add more value to the Bonus allies while still making it simpler to hit higher goal markers, something I know I’ll be shooting for.

Bonus allies have been a staple of the Trials since the very first event. Essentially, eight units provide an extra score multiplier to your overall run when used on at least one of your teams. Four of those units are considered more valuable and give bigger bonuses than the other four, and those heroes are the focus of a summoning banner that runs throughout the duration of the Trials.

This time around, my diligence during the last Echoes summoning banners has served me well.

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Because I already own a Delthea and a Sonya, I’ll be able to make use of the bonuses they provide without having to blow any orbs on this banner. Considering the Hero Fest is more of an area of interest for me right now, that’s certainly nothing to complain about.

Starting with the Reunited at Last event, Bonus allies are now being given more value. When you use them on a team, not only do they get double experience and skill points, they are also going to get extra stat buffs. +4 to attack, defense, resistance and speed as well as a whopping +10 to health.

Not gunna lie, that’s crazy. 10 extra health alone is nothing to sneeze at, and when you add on the rest of the stat buffs there is plenty of incentive for me to use both Delthea and Sonya to breeze through everyone and everything.

Adding that incentive to using the Bonus heroes is great, especially since the extra score multiplier will make it that much easier to score all the prizes. We already know that Clive, who appeared in the most recent Echoes-themed level set, is going to be the unit prize.

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I’m afraid I won’t be able to predict what the Sacred Seal rewards are going to be, however… That’s one of the unfortunate detriments to doing this preemptively.

Using the Bonus heroes more won’t be the only way Intelligent Systems has increased the chances of getting the rewards this time around. One of the other changes implemented will make the first two attempts at the Trials each day worth triple their overall score. On top of that, they’re adding lower level units to the normal difficulty runs, and although that doesn’t apply to me I do appreciate the attempt to make completing runs easier for new players.

Ties in well with the Starter Support event, after all.

The only other big change to the Trials will be the addition of a continuous auto battle function. Due to the tedious nature of slogging through tons of runs at the event in the past, this change is really valuable to make a casual experience out of grinding. That casual approach might not be the best considering you could lose more easily, but still. I can certainly see myself using it just to rack up points without needing to be too attentive.

That’s about all I’m about to talk about regarding the next Tempest Trials. Like I said before, I won’t be able to predict the Sacred Seals, the special final battle map or how everything is going to tie into the overarching storyline of the Tempest (other than the fact that Alm and Celica will be reunited, obviously) due to the fact that I’m writing this before the event takes place.

If there winds up being something significant I see that I desperately want to mention, maybe I’ll put something out here for it. Otherwise, those details might just become a small mention in a later post.



Alright so let me be honest, I’m a little burnt out right now. I’ve had a couple long days in a row on account of Daily Titan orientation and I probably stayed up a little too late writing this, so I’m going to make my conclusion here nice and simple.

You’ve already read like 3,100 words, so you deserve to be spared of my tyranny.

Out of the three facets I discussed in this post – the Starter Support event, the 1.6 update and the Tempest Trials – which do you think provides the coolest things to the game? Obviously one option technically adds more than the rest, but each do have their own individual focuses and merits as far as helping players and fans, improving the inner and outer workings of the game as a whole and providing more fun challenges in the game.

Let me know in the comments down below, and I’ll see you again probably in the next couple days as I talk a bit less about video games and a bit more about my life outside the digital domain.

Happy half a year, Heroes!

Happy half a year, Heroes!

You may think I’m strange for celebrating the six-month anniversary of a mobile game, but I can assure you that I haven’t been obsessivly counting down the days since release. I’m just jumping on the celebration boat Intelligent Systems has set afloat!

After all, if Duel Links and Fire Emblem Heroes have taught me anything, it’s that mobile games apparently really enjoy celebrating half a year’s worth of existing.

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It’s strange to think that this game is already half a year old. To be completely honest, I’m not sure whether or not that seems like a long time ago or not long ago at all. The last semester of school I endured was such a slog for a variety of reasons that I feel like things changed completely between the beginning of Spring 2017 and now.

Yet, I can still distinctly remember the day when Fire Emblem Heroes dropped as if it were yesterday. I remember riding down one of the elevators in the College Park building on campus with (I believe) my friend Megan there next to me, trying out a game that had just been announced not long prior, one that I was very excited for in the midst of still playing Pokémon Moon. The classic music and game art was so refreshing for a mobile game that I instantly fell in love.

Then I remember sitting in front of a classroom in the basement of the Education building waiting for my honors history class with Professor Hall to begin while writing an awfully long-winded and ridiculously in-depth review of a mobile game to be published in the school paper. One which eventually my buddy Kaleb had to help me cut the hell down because seriously who wants to read that much about a dumb mobile game except me?

Hell, even in this small niche I’m trying to carve out for myself I’m not totally convinced anyone wants to read my long-winded speeches about this game. I certainly never expected Fire Emblem Heroes to blossom into being the biggest thing I talk about into this void I call my blog after that initial review I wrote, but here we are. I suppose the game is just a gift that keeps on giving.

Hopefully the new Arts & Entertainment editor for the Daily Titan will be as accepting of stupidly intimate game reviews as Kaleb was…

That’s probably more than enough waxing poetic for one day. I was the one who made a joke about celebrating a six-month anniversary at the beginning of this post, after all. Now here I am talking endlessly about fond memories for a game only six months old.

Though I suppose I can appreciate the overall sentiment of celebrating this. In a time where we’re constantly barraged by stimuli of all kinds and live through an interconnected virtual web that has the memory of a fruit fly, any new venture that manages to last six months without really losing a hefty degree of zeal from its fan base certainly seems like something to celebrate.

ESPECIALLY in the field of free-to-play mobile games. I’m sure most of those things die off fast from frustrating their core player base alone.

Plus, it’s not like I can complain about a celebration. The game is planning to celebrate their anniversary with free goods, after all!

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Give me all of your orbs, Feh…

The most important thing going on for the game’s six-month anniversary, I’d argue, is the big orb dump. The game will be providing two log-in bonus events that provide players 20 orbs if they log in ten times over two week periods. One starts today and goes until the 21st, while the other starts the 22nd and will go until September 10th.

40 orbs? Not a bad deal, Nintendo. I can respect that.

As I’ve expressed plenty of times in the past, one of my biggest idiosyncrasies when it comes to Fire Emblem Heroes is a strange peace of mind and security that comes with hoarding a large quantity of orbs just in case a certain hero arrives that I desperately need in my (probably somewhat pathetic realistically speaking) virtual life.

My last hoarding session was cut off somewhat pre-maturely by the arrival of the second summer heroes banner, but since I managed to summon summer Elise:

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Perhaps the Loli bait is strong with this one, but she’s grown on me. Something in the way her face is drawn is just way too cute.

I’ve been pretty good about saving up again. Sorry Xander, as much as I love your Lilith floatation device, I gotta start saving up again. Plus most of the tier lists say Elise is better anyway. So there.

Speaking of summer heroes, this six-month anniversary celebration began the day after our last Voting Gauntlet ended. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I felt it was worth bringing up, so this seemed like a good transition.

Overall I did pretty poorly.

 

I lost the first two rounds when backing my girl Elise against Corrin before joining my friends to back Robin against Corrin, but she steamrolled me both times. Then I supported Corrin in the final round and…

Naturally we destroyed Gaius, who is ironically my favorite guy from the first summer summoning banner. Funny how that works.

These Voting Gauntlets don’t tend to mean much outside of getting some extra feathers, however, so really that’s about all I have to say on the matter. Except for the fact that they added some extra orb rewards on each cycle of the rounds, which was a much appreciated addition.

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Keep that up I’d say. It definitely encouraged me to participate in the event more often.

Getting back into the meat and potatoes of this post, the six-month anniversary celebration isn’t just a couple of orb showers.

Though they haven’t arrived yet, part of the celebration will include two limited edition special map challenges and two presumably prize-heavy quest lines toward the end of August. Given the nature of those events I don’t believe I’ll be talking about them on here that much, but just know they’ll more than likely include lots of orbs, lots of colored level-up stones and some new Sacred Seals.

Also later this month, starting on Thursday actually, there’s going to be some events meant to help Fire Emblem Heroes newcomers… Though the events will also be beneficial to veterans like myself, if not more beneficial. A second “Hero Fest” banner will be coming for a week, allowing players to get the chance at popular heroes with an increased summoning chance. Plus, there will be a secondary log-in bonus to coincide with the starter support event that I believe will overlap with the anniversary bonus and give us an additional 20 orbs.

That’s at least 60 orbs, not including whatever we’re going to get from those special maps and quests I mentioned before.

I didn’t personally take advantage of the first Hero Fest when it rolled around since it happened during my very first orb collection binge (the one that got me to 200+ orbs I might add), though I get the feeling this one might sway me more easily if the heroes are desirable enough.

The reason this Hero Fest might sway me is also thanks to the final part of the anniversary celebration: Core summoning changes. Two of them to be exact.

First, a free first summon has been implemented.

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Pretty much what you read is what you get with this one. Every time a new banner is released, the first five orb cost to summon one hero is waved. One hero free of charge.

While it isn’t much, the teaser given in regards to this change stands pretty true. Everyone can try each banner at least once, and there’s no harm in that when you have the possibility of drawing one of the rare focus heroes in that first summon.

Because that’s what we all say before sinking money into the pit hoping to get that hero we’ve already invested time and effort into finding.

Anyway…

Second, the rates of summoning four star and three star heroes have been switched. Now, starting with every summoning banner released on August 7th and beyond, it will actually be more common to summon four star heroes rather than three star heroes.

 

This change, despite not applying to the ‘Summer focus’ and ‘Life and Death focus’ banners we already had before today, is actually really beneficial. If nothing else it makes it a lot easier to get your hands on higher leveled units that take less investment to train up if desirable, and there are a lot of abilities you can inherit that come from four star allies.

Since it ties in with a lot of what I talked about already, I figured it would also be worth brining up the Bound Hero Battle that began today featuring Cecilia and Lilina from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.

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This special map collection offers a challenging map layout with three difficulty levels for summoners to try their hands at. The catch with each difficulty level is that you can’t lose a single unit. Once one of your four heroes dies, you automatically lose.

It’s a bit of a brutal task for sure, but those who have the skills to take it on can net themselves an extra nine orbs to put in the bank. Don’t think I’ll be able to beat the Infernal level since it really does live up to it’s name, but I’ve already beaten Hard and have a good strategy going for Lunatic, so we’ll have to see.

The special map challenge also comes with a brand new summoning focus:

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With the focus on Roy, Cecilia and Lilina, this banner overall isn’t really for me. I already have all three heroes in my collection, so the increased chance at nabbing them really isn’t all that appealing. I still figured it would be worth mentioning, however, as this banner is the first to implement both the free first summon and the swapped summoning chances that I mentioned earlier.

I used my free summon and got a four star Stahl. He’s pretty useless… But the fact that I got a four star with my free summon kind of proves that something in the new system is working, right? I like to think so, anyway.

All of these new things in the game also coincide with the version 1.6 update, an update that includes a variety of changes also worth talking about… But changes that I’m not sure I have the energy for tonight.

Seriously, it’s right around 2 a.m. and this post has taken me much longer to write than I anticipated. While rambling ceaselessly in the early hours of the morning has served me well in the past, I’m afraid I’m just a little too tired to keep going. Probably in part due to feeling sick over the last couple of days, something which honestly should have driven me to bed sooner anyway.

Ah well, ’tis the life of a Masochist I suppose.

Because I have some time with my friends later today (during normal daytime hours) and orientation for the Daily Titan throughout the week, I think I’ll skip out on the version 1.6 talk tonight. If anything I’ll include that as a post-lengthener when I talk about the Hero Fest on Thursday, though it could come earlier if I feel the writing mood come on.

Either way stay tuned, it’ll be here.

Until then, let me know how you feel about the six-month anniversary celebration for Fire Emblem Heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited for all the cool give-a-ways as I am? Or are you more stuck in the kind of temporal confusion and awe in regards to time passing that I was toward the beginning of this post?



Before I sign off and hit the hay, I also thought this would be worth mentioning.

The other day I tried something strange by posting a tweet from my Nintendo Switch. To test the feature out I tweeted about the results of Splatoon 2’s first Splatfest.

A disappointing outcome… But that’s beside the point.

While posting to social media from my game console was an undoubtedly strange experience… It wasn’t necessarily one I was all that opposed to. Particularly if it’s the only real way to get the pictures I take on that device off of the device so I can show cool things off to the world.

Thus, although it probably won’t be an earth shattering change, I may just wind up posting to twitter independently more often with Switch-based content. That in itself could lead to more individual social media posts in general… Though for now I doubt it since I still like to tell myself I’m not a huge fan of using social media.

Still felt like it would be worth mentioning here as sort of a shameless self promotion. After all, if you’ve made it this far into the post you clearly enjoy my company to an extent, so it might be worth checking out my Twitter for some sort of an evolution in the future.

Even if it’s mostly a conduit for getting these blog posts you see already in front of more eyes as it currently stands.

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Rise of the ‘roc, part 3

Been a while since I’ve had the chance to do one of these.

Since the games were teased for us back in June, we haven’t gotten too much new information on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the follow up sequels/reimagining/who even knows what for Pokémon’s seventh generation games Sun and Moon.

However, now it seems like some information is starting to swing around. In this case:

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

We have Dusk Form Lycanroc making an appearance. Now orange with green eyes, this third form of the beloved canine wolf from Alola seems to be a mix of its two alternate forms.

Image courtesy of Serebii.net

It keeps its overall quadrupedal look from the Midday Form while adopting a different color and a large tuft of back hair like the Midnight Form has.

We don’t know too much more about this new form past its appearance at this point. Though, it was also revealed that the Dusk Form Lycanroc will be what Ash’s Rockruff evolves into in the Pokémon anime. Whether it will have some insane stat spread or any extra moves unseen in the last two additions has yet to be revealed.

On one hand, I almost feel like this addition could simply boil down to needing to give Ash a super special version of a popular Pokémon, as he has been known to get in the past. If so I suppose that makes sense, though it would be a little disappointing to give such a great Pokémon what is essentially a ‘sell-out’ version. Cool, but clearly made for selling toys.

However, the idea of the Dusk Form does open up some interesting possibilities. While Lycanroc was one of the few Pokémon that got a special Sun/Moon differential treatment (not counting the more traditional version exclusivity), the fact that they’re adding a Pokémon based on the time between the ‘Sun’ and the ‘Moon’ suggests that there might be more of a unifying focus between the two Ultra sequels.

Plus, the fact that they’re adding at least one new Pokémon form in the first place leaves the possibility open that we could be seeing more new forms along the same vein as the Dusk Lycanroc, different significant in-game events, new Alolan Forms or even new Mega Evolutions in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

… Okay, new Mega Evolutions are a stretch, but a man can dream. I’m still holding out for Mega Solrock and Mega Lunatone to make an appearance in the Alola Region.

Now that my buddy Juan pointed out that these kinds of updates are starting to pick up, I’ll probably be talking about them like I did during the build-up to Sun and Moon last year, so look out for that.

How do you feel about the new Lycanroc form? Do you think it’s more of a toy/anime tie-in ploy? Or does it open the doors of possibility for more interesting new stuff to come down the pipeline? What would you like to see them announce for the new games? Let me know in the comments down below!