Month: December 2017

New Year, New Heroes

New Year, New Heroes

Okay so in my end-of-year post earlier today I mentioned that I would be doing something “when New Year heroes dropped tomorrow.”

I apparently don’t know how to read dates because as it turns out they’re here for New Year’s Eve, not New Year’s Day.

Then I went to bed early last night before checking the game, so I never found out until this morning.

Oops.

That said, looks like you’re all getting two posts today, even though I was planning to try and use this as a kicking-off point to do a post every day for the first week of the new year. I’ll see if I can still get that to work out.

But enough pussyfooting around, let’s get into these Heroes, shall we?


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Okay before I do get into these new heroes, I am actually still a little annoyed about this timing. Why aren’t the New Year heroes out on the first day of 2018? I feel like that would make so much more sense. Especially since there’s still one more day for the Winter/Christmas units. Why not just hold off one more day?

I suppose there’s no use complaining about it, it just does bug me a bit.

That said, I’m not necessarily mad that these new summonable heroes are here, because I do like them quite a bit.

I mentioned briefly in my Top 10 Games of 2017 list that I was going to try and figure out a way to either cut down on my Fire Emblem Heroes posts, or at least shorten them somehow so they aren’t quite as much work for me to produce so often.

I’m going to be trying a couple things in the next few posts, this time by distilling down the skills list for each new character through using the official descriptions. After all, for something like this there’s no better way to summarize information than to just have it in the original form, right?

  • TakumiPrince of Soup
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    • Takumi is frankly the most ‘eh’ hero on this list for me. I really like his weapon (even though I’m disappointed that he doesn’t throw soup at people), especially in combination with a natural Moonbow, since together they give him repeated high special attack potential. However, the Attack and Resistance boost is a little situational because he needs to be next to someone, and Bowbreaker is contradictory if you want him to have boosted resistance. Plus, let’s be honest with ourselves, not many dagger-based units are viable. So all-and-all, I might skip out on Takumi for now, but we’ll see how good my luck is elsewhere.
  • CamillaHoliday Traveler
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  • Camilla is clearly the odd one out when it comes to these New Years heroes. While I acknowledge that it’s part of her character in the Birthright game’s conclusion that she travels Hoshido, I still can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t include a Hoshidan sibling that hasn’t gotten any love yet – Hinoka and Ryoma, namely. Well… Okay, I know why they would choose Camilla, because everyone loves her and probably spends a lot of money to get her… But still. She is special as our first sword-wielding Wyvern unit, which opens up the possibility of a fully balanced wyvern-based team, but otherwise she’s somewhat unremarkable too. Okay weapon effect that stacks with her ward skill alongside a strong special attack, but also a strangely combined boost to her Defense and Speed. Maybe it makes sense for her stat spread, but personally I’m not sure I understand it.
  • AzuraCelebratory Spirit
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    • While Camilla is an odd flying unit in this banner, Azura is a freaking incredible flying unit in this banner. I’m not going to bury the lede here, she’s the unit I’m after right now. As far as I can recall, she’s also unique as an axe-wielding pegasus knight, but she’s also a flying unit with Azura’s signature Sing ability. That. Is. Awesome. Even if she doesn’t have the same beneficial weapon buff that the Performing Arts Azura has (in fact her weapon is basically a clone of Camilla’s, so it’s just ok), she does grant a large defense boost with her Earth Dance skill. Plus, she comes with Hone Fliers, arguably one of the best skills you’ll need on a flying unit focused team. Give this girl the Iote’s Shield Sacred Seal that was added during this last Tempest Trial, and I get the feeling she’s going to be an unstoppable force.

Honestly I’m really glad Azura’s skills look as good as they do. Even when I originally talked about these guys a few days ago I was convinced I would love Azura just because of her nice artwork, so it all just seemed to work out perfectly.

My only question is… What happened to Corrin, exactly?

Back in those leaks I talked about before, a bow-wielding Corrin was one of the featured heroes:

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And he does, in fact, appear through the Paralogue missions that accompanied these heroes. Yet, he’s not in the main summoning focus banner, and the upcoming Winter’s Envoy vs. New Years Voting Gauntlet is not going to feature him as a hero to support. So what happened to him?

Is he going to be in a separate banner that drops on New Year’s Day? Is he going to be a future reward unit, perhaps in some sort of Grand Hero Battle or? Who knows.

I get the feeling Azura would have been my focus whether or not Corrin was here too, so I suppose his absence is alright for now. It’s given me more of a chance to blow all my orbs on green, after all.

Except for the one time I pulled a series of summons that didn’t include a green unit.

Which was the one time I naturally got a five star unit.

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Love you Tharja, really I do… But you didn’t have to show up now you know.

Also why couldn’t you have shown up during my attempts at the Winter/Christmas banner?

Ah well, guess I can’t really complain about a new five star. Especially since this banner is going to be around for the entire month of January, so there’s going to be more than enough opportunities to get my Azura.

In the meantime, I’m getting a bunch of Cecilia clones all of a sudden, which means I’ll be able to keep improving mine in place of getting a Gunnthrá. Gotta love consolation prizes.


This story portion of the main event is probably going to be a short one, or at least a photo-heavy one. There really isn’t a hell of a lot to say about the Paralogue this time around besides the fact that Corrin shows up in it despite being absent elsewhere.

Even the maps you battle on aren’t super exciting for me this time around.

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I suppose there’s some traditional Japanese elements to them considering how Hoshido is heavily inspired by feudal Japan, but most of those references go right over my head if they’re there. As a result, all I really see is a couple of maps that are less visually enticing than the last few special holiday maps we’ve gotten for Halloween and Christmas.

But I digress. What exactly is the story here?

Well… You and the Order of Heroes start off by going to Hoshido to celebrate the New Year.

When you get there, the special heroes have already made their contracts with Princess Veronica, so as usual it’s right to battling – though you do get some interaction between the characters beforehand.

For example, leading into the first map, Corrin and Takumi talk about getting fortunes:

Spoiler alert, Takumi’s fortune says the exact same thing as Corrin’s fortune does. They’re just playing up the ‘Takumi doesn’t like Corrin’ thing I’m pretty sure.

The interactions between Azura and Camilla are a bit more interesting to me, admittedly.

Not going to lie, pretty sure they’re referring to the fact that her bust is way more restricted in this outfit than in… Just about any other outfit she gets in this game.

But that’s not the part that’s interesting to me. Rather, it’s the aspect of them interacting as sisters, playing on their relationship in Conquest version where Azura turns out to be the sibling from Nohr that was stolen away to Hoshido at a young age – opposite Corrin, as the plot goes.

It’s nice to see them have a moment to be sweet with one another from that perspective.

Even if it does get kind of weird.

Camilla is just a wonderfully awkward character in almost every respect. Honestly that’s one thing Heroes has done well, made me care more about her than I ever really did in the original games.

The final map is just about as generic as it gets. Everything leads in with the four heroes preparing to fight their last stand:

I’m definitely Takumi in this scenario.

Then you win the battle, and the Order of Heroes decide to stay back a bit and make wishes for the New Year.

As is characteristic, Alfonse wishes for world peace, Sharena wishes to be friends with everyone forever and Anna wishes to fill the coffers of the Order with lots and lots of money.

And that’s it. No more pomp and circumstance, no tie-in to a more overarching plot. Just a simple filler arc to celebrate the New Year, exactly what you might expect to see.

I suppose I can’t complain, after all we got an easy 12 orbs out of it. Plus, it houses my new dream hero Azura.

I will get to you eventually, Azura. No matter what it takes. As long as what it takes doesn’t include spending money because I’ve already done that too recently and I’m not starting bad habits for the New Year.


With that said, here’s all there is to say about this Heroes update. Like I said above, I’m going to keep experimenting with these to try and cut them down, so let me know what you think about trying to summarize the skill list using the list given in-game.

Also, let me know what you think of the New Year-themed heroes! And what you think about the absence of Corrin, for that matter. Will he appear soon? How will he appear? I’d love to know what you think.

The timely journalist in me couldn’t resist getting this post out the day the update happened, so now that this post is the last one I’m publishing for the year I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018! May it be full of good times… And good luck when pulling heroes.

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Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.

This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.

Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.

Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.

I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.

Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.

To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.

Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.

The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).

During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.

Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.

A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.

However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.

During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.

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Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.

Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.

Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.

Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.

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The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.

Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.

I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.

Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.

There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.

Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.

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On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.

Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.

During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.

When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.

I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.

Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.

Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.

Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.

Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.

Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.

A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.

My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.

However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.

I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.

During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.

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When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.

It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.

On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.

Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.

That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.

I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.

Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.

Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.

2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.

On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.

Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.

As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.

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I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.

Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.

If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Well, it seems as though we’re actually going to have a short Fire Emblem post here today because we got a pretty underwhelming and small update all things being equal.

Even if there’s going to be another update soon enough, a subject I’m also going to touch upon here to make things a bit heftier, I wanted to write this post now while I’m also thinking about the future of this kind of content on my blog.

That said, before I jump into all of that existential BS, let’s look at this new Legendary Hero Summoning Banner.

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Fjorm’s sister, Gunnthrá (gotta love these probably Slavic inspired names – if I have that Etimology right), is now available through a special summoning event.

Up until now, she’s had a number of cameo appearances, mostly as a disembodied and helpful voice teasing future events up until the beginning of Fire Emblem Heroes’ Book II story missions. Those missions, as it turns out, are essentially are the beginning of those future events Gunnthrá had been teasing before.

Isn’t it just nifty how that kind of premonition-y future sight works?

Despite that minor degree of plot importance and characterization in the past, Gunnthrá’s actually arrival in the world of Heroes now is a little downplayed to say the least. Literally, the developers announced she would be coming in a banner a few days ago, and now she’s here. There’s no new story missions or paralogue missions or anything offering some sort of further explanation as to who the character is or to offer her the chance to interact with her sister. She’s just here.

Have fun with your random chance to summon.

She isn’t a free gift through the story of the game like Fjorm was. To add her to your army, you have to brave the now infamous 12 character, 8 percent summoning chance banner. It has high potential to force you into wasting a lot of orbs for the chance to get her, only to wind up with one of the other two green heroes on the banner.

So, is she worth the risk?

  • GunnthráVoice of Dreams
  • Our new Legendary Hero is a green mage cavalier, making her an arguably apt replacement for the horse-based team staple, Cecilia. Her special tome Blizzard gives her +3 Resistance and adds to her Attack stat when the opponent has debuffs applied, an effect similar to the well-worn Gronnblade. She also comes with the special attack Glacies to deal massive damage based on her Resistance stat and three passive skills: Fortress Resistance grants her a +5 Resistance boost in exchange for a -3 Attack reduction, Resistance Ploy makes foes in cardinal directions suffer -5 Resistance and the new skill Chilling Seal inflicts -6 Attack and Speed to the opponent’s unit with the lowest defense as long as she’s above 50 percent health. As far as the wording suggests, this afflicts anyone no matter where they are on the map.

In my opinion, Gunnthrá seems interesting… But not necessarily worth the effort.

Of course, she does come with the ability to bless an ally using her Wind element, which gives said blessed ally a +3 Health and +4 Resistance boost during a Wind season if they go into battle together. Especially for a cavalier unit, this ability can probably give her a solid place on a horse team boosting someone like Reinhardt.

That blessing and her Chilling Seal skill sound interesting, but the rest of her packaging just feels… Okay. Nothing particularly awe-inspiring.

Not knowing her actual stat spread, she looks to be a highly resistant unit with low attack that’s compensated by a weapon with an effect less useful than its counterpart, the Gronnblade.

I think of the situation similarly to Pokémon in this respect. In a Pokémon battle, it’s always better to use a status move that buffs one’s own stats as opposed to one that debuffs an opponent’s stats. In the latter situation you defeat that opponent and start from zero, while in the prior situation you keep your stronger standing for multiple opponents to come.

Similarly, Gronnblade buffs a Fire Emblem Heroes unit based on the stat boosts you give to your unit, whereas Blizzard gives Gunnthrá a boost based on the debuffs attached to the single opponent you hit. Decent synergy if you hit the unit afflicted with your Chilling Seal, but otherwise not the most optimal.

On top of that, Gunnthrá is a limited time unit that’s hard to summon, making her inherently a little less desirable than a unit like Cecilia who can constantly be merged and improved, despite whatever power creep might be involved for their stat differences.

At least, that’s my opinion on the matter. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think I’m going to spend a lot of orbs on this banner.

Another one of the reasons is the aforementioned saturation of heroes on the banner. Like I said, there are 12 available:

  • Greens: Gunnthrá, Amelia, Spring Chrom
  • Reds: Ryoma, Sigurd, Brave Roy
  • Blues: Fjorm, Spring Lucina, Bride Charlotte
  • Colorless: Innes, Elise, Bride Lyn

If I was going for any of these outside of Gunnthrá, I would personally focus on Ryoma, Bride Charlotte and Bride Lyn.

However… My efforts right off the bat didn’t give me the best results.

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A sparkling new unit, but unfortunately a duplicate.

Yes, I did get a 5 star Sigurd. However, I already have one. If anything, that just makes him unit merging fodder. While that’s not an inherently bad thing, I would have much preferred getting someone like Ryoma.

That kind of disappointment from the over-saturation of the heroes leads to the third main reason why I won’t be spending a lot of orbs on this banner, despite it ending on January 1st.

Apparently there are going to be New Year-themed Heroes coming out.

And I’ve been spoiled on who they’re going to be by my friend Jonathan.

Obviously I’m going to talk about these guys when they arrive, but as for my first impressions:

Takumi is going to throw soup at people and that’s amazing, Azura is a cutie in that kimono, Corrin got his arrows as a gift from Lilith which is also amazing and Camilla… Well she’s Camilla.

I want them more than I want Gunnthrá, so for now I’m going to save the energy and orbs I get from the current Tempest Trial for later.

With that said, I believe that about sums up everything I have to say about this banner. Of course, the post as a whole is far longer than I expected because I need to learn to write less, but that’s a whole other story for another day.



Actually, it is somewhat of a story for today.

With New Years Heroes coming soon – a reminder of the more general arrival of 2018 in a couple days – I can’t help but reflect on my blog content a little.

2017 has been the first full year of my blog’s existence, and for the most part I’ve been keeping it afloat with a combination of archiving my Daily Titan articles and Fire Emblem Heroes posts.

The Fire Emblem posts are fun, but to be honest I think they’re a little bit of a crutch for me. It’s really easy to produce them in a sense because all I have to do is take screenshots on my phone and talk for a long time. For most other games I have to take external photos off my iPhone, which works… But not very well.

My Pokémon Ultra Moon tweets are a perfect example. I can get decent quality out of them, but I would definitely prefer to be able to capture those photos directly through some sort of capture card or something.

Because I can’t get nicer photos, I feel like I can’t write a lot on other subjects. So I don’t.

Fire Emblem provides a perfect solution to the problem: It’s easy to capture, fun to talk about and gives me plenty of opportunities to just write on a time frame I can handle.

Just writing practice in general is more or less the goal of my blog, besides making an archive of my work for future employers, so the content doesn’t make much of a difference in that regard.

However, the time frame is arguably a big part of the problem for me in my head right now. If it wasn’t obvious, I have to stay up pretty late whenever there’s a substantial update,so I can have something written about the 11 p.m. release out in the world by 8 a.m. the next day.

That’s arguably the job of a journalist I suppose, to be timely and quick with writing, so again this serves as decent practice… But it is a real energy drain for something that I’m feeling kind of iffy about sticking all my eggs in one basket for.

So, for 2018, I’m going to be thinking about restructuring how I do my Fire Emblem Heroes posts. They’re either going to get less abundant or I’m going to come up with a format that allows me to get them out faster and hopefully in a shorter form.

Working smarter, not harder and all that jazz.

I just wanted to get my thoughts out on that here so that anyone who reads this can potentially give me some advice on what they think.

How would you restructure what I do with Fire Emblem now? Do you have any advice or suggestions? Or do you like how I do things currently? Let me know in the comments below! For this I’m genuinely interested to hear what others have to say.

Also, on that note, let me know how you feel about the actual subject of this post originally, Gunntrá! Is she worth the hype? Or, as the case may be, is she worth the lack of hype?

That, after all, is the true question.

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

Early-onset Christmas Cheer and Holiday Heroes

Early-onset Christmas Cheer and Holiday Heroes

Christmas time is here. Gather your friends near. That’s how the song goes, isn’t that right?

We may not be at Christmas just yet, but certainly the celebrations leading up to the much-beloved holiday have begun. Personally, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I come from a hebrew background, so I celebrate Hanukkah, which is something probably anyone can tell from some of my recent attempts to be more active on social media.

Shout out to my sister being cute in this actually good photo I took for once.

That said, even if Christmas isn’t my forte, one thing I’ve always appreciated about the season is the extensive effort everyone goes to so extra things can be given away to celebrate the holiday. For me, that means video games especially.

So, in case you couldn’t tell by the featured image here, of course the subject I’m here to talk about today is Fire Emblem Heroes. We can’t go a holiday without a special summoning banner coming out of the woodwork, after all.

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As always, it seems like Fire Emblem Awakening is getting the love this go-around. At least we aren’t seeing Lucina for once. I love her to death, don’t get me wrong, but boy is she over-saturated in this game’s special character roster.

Interestingly enough, every unit on this holiday banner is an armored unit. Why they decided to choose the winter/Christmas heroes to give a buff to armored teams is beyond me, but I can’t say I’m entirely against the idea. It’s kind of cool actually, even if one unit doesn’t exactly fit the armored look. But I’ll get to that.

Also, ‘cool.’ Not an intentional pun, but it’s there.

  • LissaPure Joy
    • To be blunt about it, right off the bat Lissa is the character I care about getting the most in this banner. Not so much aesthetically, because even though I do enjoy Lissa as a character she’s not necessarily my favorite girl from Awakening. Though her special Christmas clothes covering the armored skirt cage is a nice touch, I’ll admit. My interest comes mostly from a skills perspective. I’ve been paying more attention to skills and building my units up lately, so having a powerful looking unit is an attractive thing right now. Lissa comes packed with a new axe weapon called the Handbell, which grants her a +2 buff to all stats if she’s attacked by an enemy unit. Her special attack is Bonfire, which boosts damage based on the opponent’s defense stat, and she has Fortify Armor to grant a +6 defense and resistance buff to other armored units. She also comes with a new skill called Bold Fighter, which ensures she gets a follow-up attack if she attacks at the cost of a +1 charge to her special attack. All-and-all she sounds like a unit with a balanced powerful attack phase and defense phase, and I like it.
  • ChromGifted Leader
    • So first things first, Chrom gets some bonus points on a number of fronts. His name pun is pretty good, he pulls off the Santa look well with his bag of toys, and every time I hear him say “Lissa made me wear this” in the trailer that introduced these heroes, I get a nice chuckle out of it. That said, Chrom also looks like a powerful unit but from a more high-risk, high-reward standing. His Sack o’ Gifts weapon offers the same benefit that Lissa’s Handbell does, and he comes with the passive movement skill Pivot that armored units benefit from nicely, as well as Wary Fighter to prevent follow-up attacks if he has more than 50 percent health. However, both the interesting and detrimental point of contention when it comes to Chrom here is his new skill, Brazen Atk/Def. With it, he gains +7 attack and defense during combat when at 80 percent health or below. That’s an insane boost and frankly makes him sound like a physical powerhouse to an extent, but the catch is he has to have lowered health to make use of the ability. Plus, it kind of conflicts with Wary Fighter, making it so Chrom has a strange sweet spot between 50 percent and 80 percent health to have the most combat effectiveness. It’s weird, but given that he and Lissa are both in the green unit pool, I wouldn’t be opposed to get either or.
  • RobinFestive Tactician
    • Robin is also fairly pleasing aesthetically, as the change to make his Grandmaster robes into a Santa outfit fits really well. It’s just also, frankly, a little ridiculous to me that he’s going to spend his time running around trying to stab people with a Christmas tree lance. Skill-wise he’s also sort of an interesting case. His Tannenboom! lance has the same effect as the previous two weapons, and his new skill Brazen Atk/Spd offers the same +7 boost below 80 percent health that Chrom’s does, only to attack and speed rather than attack and defense, obviously. His passive Reciprocal Aid is a bit of a throw-away in my opinion, but he does come with the skill Armor March that makes all armored units have extra movement potential at the start of each turn, which is pretty awesome. Overall he seems like the unit that would require the most skill inheritance to make especially useful, but with his Brazen skill, Robin could turn out to be a hell of an armored powerhouse in the end.
  • Tharja“Normal Girl”
    • Alright… Let’s be honest. Everyone saw Tharja pop up the first time and flipped their shit. It’s about as bait-y a porn bait I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something considering how much I thought Rhajat was porn bait in the last big banner. Just… Skimpy bra/panties, thigh high boots, a cape and reindeer antlers. I’m not going to say I’m complaining or anything, but it’s definitely a hell of a stretch to consider her an armored unit. Oh, who am I kidding, Tharja was my favorite back in Awakening, I can’t stay mad at her for long. Especially when she’s still all about making herself better for Robin. Plus, she comes with four skills, so who can complain about that? Her red tome, the Candelabra (for some reason?) has the same bonus to it that every other weapon in this banner has. However, it’s made extra useful by the inclusion of Close Combat. Thus, she can attack from any distance, and she’ll probably have the bulk of an armored unit to make use of that kind of ability. Tharja also comes with Iceberg as a special attack to boost damage based on her opponent’s resistance and she comes with a new skill called Vengeful Fighter that allows her to automatically have a follow-up attack if she’s got more than 50 percent health and is attacked – at the cost of a +1 special attack charge. Her last skill, Red Tome Valor, grants all other red tome users x2 SP at the end of a battle, which is good for training but not much else, unfortunately. I’d argue she’s my second favorite unit here next to Lissa, so the girl’s are my goal this time around.

Personally, while I have some high hopes for a couple of the units added in here, I’m mostly just hoping things don’t turn out as screwy for me as they did for the Fates children banner. THAT turned out to be a nightmare.

Got up to 5 percent chance before finally pulling any five star unit, which was god damn ridiculous. Luckily the unit I pulled was Soleil, who was just about the only one I wanted,  but it really felt like it wasn’t worth all of the effort and orbs I had to burn getting there.

Spent some money on the game for the first time in a long time, just because I was getting frustrated and didn’t want to waste the increased opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to support this game once in a while because it has been so fun while being free, but I wish I didn’t feel so forced to do it for a dumb random situation.

Anyway… That’s enough bitching for one moment. Let’s get into the story coming alongside this banner, shall we?


As usual for a holiday-themed update, this time around we’ve gotten a three-part Paralogue focused on the Order of Heroes going to join in a themed tournament. It’s kind of a really common theme in Fire Emblem apparently… For some reason.

Yeah… I’m kind of with Sharena on this one, actually. It’s a strangely dark backstory for something like this. But hey, the tournament aspect of things has to make for a better tie-in somehow, right?

Mmm… No it’s still kind of weird. I don’t know, I’m not much of a Christmas person like I said, but this still seems really dark and strange for something in this vein.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about a dark Christmas story once in a while, but especially out of Nintendo property I would expect something a bit more upbeat. Cheery, even. Maybe that’s the Intelligent Systems vibe coming through.

Eh, oh well. If nothing else it’s just an excuse to get 12 extra orbs, right? Either way, from there things basically progress from there as would be expected.

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The snowy village maps are actually really pretty in this Paralogue. I always love the specially designed maps, like for the special character events and those they use at the end of Tempest Trial runs.

The only thing that’s kind of off-putting, in my opinion, is the battle background on the 16-1 map.

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Like it’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong… But the window to the right of Chrom kind of reminds me of a window display you might see at a Macy’s, or something along those lines.

Just the idea of there being some sort of a large capitalist shopping conglomerate in a Fire Emblem game feels really weird to me, even if it’s just in my own head.

But I digress.

Really the first map sets everything up, but Lissa and Chrom don’t have too much to say outside of their intent to get presents for the Shepherds through this tournament.

However, once you get to Robin and Tharja in the second map, things are infinitely better.

As a concession of bias, Robin and Tharja remain one of my absolute favorite pairings from the days of Fire Emblem Awakening. So I’m pre-disposed to enjoy just about any interaction between the two.

But like it’s honestly so god damn adorable that Tharja is spending her time trying to act normal and enjoying time with Robin while he stays characteristically focused on the mission at hand.

A point which I feel is rather ironically juxtaposed by Robin’s sprite, which makes it look like he’s holding his arms up in a ‘whoa don’t look at me, I’m not responsible for this’ kind of way. All-and-all it’s just a wonderful visual.

Back in the days when I actually had free time to do silly things like character roleplaying on a frequent basis, I would’ve probably loved to do situations in this scenario. I love them that much.

Even when you win and Tharja gets a little terrifying again.

Once you beat them, however, you move onto the final fight with all four Christmas knights:

And… Well, to be completely blunt about it… This fight was uproariously easy for me. On all three difficulty levels.

In fact, all the maps were really easy for me. They pretty much all used only armored units, and I just recently built up my Eirika as an armor killer for the Amelia & Tana Bound Hero Battle.

It was pretty simple to make use of her for another couple rounds, and I got all the orbs on pretty much one go.

Granted, I didn’t get anything with my orbs besides a duplicate five star Minerva for some reason… But beggars can’t be choosers I suppose. There’s another two weeks for me to get my hands on a special hero.

Once you win there’s sort of a weird epilogue where the Order thinks they lost the sack full of gifts that was their prize, and Alfonse tries to teach everyone a lesson about how the holiday festival season is about giving gifts instead of receiving them, but then there’s a 180 degree turn where they find the sack and it’s full of rare gems that Anna feels can keep the organization afloat for a while, then Sharena makes Alfonse wear a santa outfit over text…

It’s just… Long-winded and kind of dumb and confusing. Like the paragraph I wrote to try and reflect it.

Not really my favorite Paralogue overall, to be honest. Outside of watching Tharja and Robin interact, there isn’t too much to take out of it… But hey, it’s got a lot of Christmas-y December charm, so that’s just fine.

Also orbs. Boy do I love getting me some orbs.


Though I do appreciate the Chrismas aesthetic, and I appreciate the wide-range appeal of it as well, I just hope next Winter Festival season we get to see some other holidays represented as well.

Can you imagine a Hanukkah-themed hero? Or a Kwanza-themed hero?

Either would be amazing, though I’m not sure who would best fit the bill off the top of my head. If you’ve got any ideas for a fitting subject, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you have any favorite heroes from this banner, tell me about them below as well! Seriously just… Talk with me guys. I know I ask for it every post, but I genuinely do enjoy audience reactions where I can get them.

With that said, if you want to see some of my other holiday-themed festivities so far this season, be sure to check out my post from last night about a trip looking at Christmas lights with members of the Daily Titan. It was a lot of fun, and I think I got some nice pictures, so check it out.

Beyond that, I officially start Winter Break this week, so expect some more posts I’ve been too backlogged to work on coming down the pipeline soon. I’m pretty excited to get the chance to do some extended creative writing again.

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

The Daily Titan’s romp through the lights

I had a really great time tonight strolling through a few blocks of Christmas-decorated houses with a few members of this semester’s Daily Titan staff at the invitation of our advisor Bonnie.

(From left to right) Our Editor in Chief Zack, me, our Copy Editor Kyle – who will be our Editor in Chief in the spring I might add, our Managing Editor Harrison behind him, our Sports Editor Kat, our Layout Editor Tracy and Zack’s boyfriend Jose all had a wonderful time together wandering the rather well-lit streets.

At least I assume we all had a good time together. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d like to believe everyone enjoyed themselves.

Of course, we were also joined by Bonnie’s angel of a dog Cokie, who I believe she said is 16 years old.

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What a freaking trooper she is. Even if she wouldn’t look at my camera for a photo from her stroller, which is honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

But I’ll let it slide because she’s the best.

I figure I should add that when the event was first getting started, Harrison and I were the only ones who arrived, and we had the chance to decorate Bonnie’s home a little bit for the holidays.

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I said it in a twitter post when this first happened, but I think we set up a nice, appealing scene for a couple of guys who aren’t super visual people.

Plus, Tracy gave us a seal of approval, so we must have done something right.

We also had dinner together before the walk, with lasagna, salad, bread and coffee cake I brought (made by Aly I later found out). Plus sparkling cider. You can never go wrong with a nice glass or two of sparkling cider.

Especially given I don’t drink wine, or any alcohol for that matter, I’m sticking to that.

But of course, the highlight of the night post-story telling over the dinner table was the walk. I took pictures of everything, so I figured it would be worth sharing them here for anyone who wanted to see some great decorations:

It really was a blast, and a great send-off for this semester’s run of the Titan.

Plus, when we got back, Bonnie had made us chocolate chip and pecan cookies, which we sat around and ate while the Sound of Music was on.

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Really, all and all it was a wonderful night. Although Zack won’t be coming back next semester, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone else on a regular basis once we get into the swing of things after the new year.

Oh, but don’t even get me started on the inconveniences coming home from the party.

I won’t dwell on it for too long, but there were two lane off-ramps I usually use that were closed, and on my alternative route down the 405 freeway, there was a 20 minute parking lot after an accident that closed down like 4 lanes. Talk about a nightmare.

In other words, I meant to put this post up sooner, but unfortunately didn’t get home until later, so… Enjoy this midnight release of Jason having a nice time with his friends. Be sure to join me tomorrow morning for Fire Emblem Heroes, which I luckily had the foresight to start earlier on so I won’t have to be up all night writing it.

Hopefully.

December 11, 2017 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

December 5, 2017 Article Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

So, what do these new heroes have to offer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without much luck.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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



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

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It’s never not hilarious.



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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