Author: jdrochlin

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!

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

Boy, Intelligent Systems sure is looking to wring all the money it can out of its gaming audience this summer, aren’t they?

Of course I say that in jest (as much as I can muster out during my early morning writing binges), as I happen to really enjoy what they have been doing and what they will be doing in the near future.

It’s only slightly in jest, however.

My friend Jonathan has been going nuts with all of the frequently added characters he’s wanted to get, and though he succeeded in getting Delthea and Sonya from the Echoes banners (like me!), he did have to spend some real money to do it. I’m starting to feel the same way at this point, as I just barely started to replenish my surplus when today’s new banner dropped.

Speaking of:img_5784The new Nohrian Summer summoning banner follows in the footsteps of the Ylissian Summer banner that we saw about a month ago, only focusing this time on the royal family of Nohr – as the name suggests.

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I probably would have been much more excited for this if we had gotten Hoshidan royalty, as I have much stronger personal connections with the Birthright side of Fire Emblem Fates than the Conquest side. However, beggars can’t be choosers. The special heroes we got are still great and rather quirky in their own rights.

Four members of the Nohrian royal family are here to spend time at the beach with the boys and girls summoning heroes on a day-to-day basis:

  • CorrinNovice Vacationer
    • A princess caught between her ‘birth’ family in Hoshido and her ‘adopted’ family in Nohr who comes to be the hero that leads one side or the other to victory in a war between the two nations. Unless you played the Revelations version of course, in which case you’d have a completely different story. In this special summertime edition of Corrin she appears as a tome using wyvern rider who attacks with Finding Nemo characters. If that’s not enough to make her enticing, I don’t know what else could.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat, which is a useful idea… Even if in execution a +1 boost isn’t necessarily the most helpful thing. Corrin’s weapon of choice is a blue tome, and she also comes equipped with a decent spread of skills right out of the box, including the Dragon Fang special attack, a +4 speed and resistance boost during initiated combat and the ability to fortify the defenses of fellow flying units.
  • EliseTropical Flower
    • The Nohrian royal family’s youngest sibling, Elise is a princess known for her charm, boundless childlike energy and great horseback healing capabilities. Finding her adorning a lei while on a summer vacation grants her a different set of skills, however, as she becomes an infantry unit who excels at using flower-based green tomes.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Elise’s weapon of choice is a green tome, and she comes with skills that grant her +2 speed and resistance, allow her to provide a +3 attack and resistance boost to allies as well as a skill that gives fellow green tome users extra ‘special points’ through battling. Honestly her skills are probably the least impressive when compared to the others.
  • LeoSeashore’s Prince
    • Being the younger of the middle children among Nohr’s royal siblings, Leo tends to be a little abrasive – particularly in the face of being teased by his siblings. Despite this, his strength wielding the mystic tome Brynhildr is unquestionable and gives him a cocky edge alongside his vast intellect as a mage knight that nobody can really deny. His summer attire loses a lot of the heavy black armor he’s known for wearing in place of a simple blue cloak, and his mystic tome has been replaced by a book discussing the ever beloved(?) tomato. Which he can launch at his enemies using magic. For some reason. It’s strange, though I’d argue his older brother’s gimmick is a bit stranger.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Leo’s weapon of choice is a red tome, though he also comes with the Iceberg special attack, the Seal Resistance skill and Attack Ploy, allowing him to lower the attack of anyone in cardinal directions with less resistance than him.
  • XanderStudent Swimmer
    • The crown prince of Nohr, known for his stalwart attitude and willingness to fight against even the mightiest of forces if it’s necessary to protect his siblings. Out of all the characters here, Xander easily has the strangest additional ‘summer attribute’ in that he apparently cannot swim and needs the help of a floatation device to stave off what seems to be a fear of the water. However, this strange attribute becomes one of the most endearing things I’ve ever seen when it appears he uses a floatation device modeled after the dragon form of Lilith as an axe. Though I get the feeling it would be even better if Corrin had the Lilith-themed gear, just the fact that he has this makes him the one character I’m pining after for this focus.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Xander’s weapon of choice is an axe, and he comes with the powerful Bonfire special, a skill called Fire Boost that gives him +6 attack if he has more health than his opponent and a skill that lowers the special cooldown for infantry units with less health than him. His skills are another reason I really want to add him to my team, I’d say.

For real though, look at this:

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Look at this wet and glistening beefcake swinging around an amazing dragon floatie around. It’s as magnificent as it is ridiculous and I am 100% down to add him to my teams.

In fact, I’ve already spent the 50 orbs I’ve collected over the last week or two (or however long its been since I summoned Sonya) on green orbs for him. To little avail thus far, but the summoning focus lasts for more than 30 days, so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to catch him… Even if I feel like shit to some extent because I gave up on my orb collection so early.

At least there’s more opportunities for orbs coming down the pipelines. Though I’ll mention that after I get into what has become probably my favorite part of these events: The story.


Three new Paralogue missions providing nine orbs and three corresponding missions provide for a nice bit of an orb boost after already burning away quite a few. Though the storyline you have to move through to get these orbs is… Interesting. To say the least.

Last time around I mentioned that the strange approach Anna took to taking pictures of summery heroes seemed characteristic of the game’s writers crying out for a vacation.

They really stepped it up this time around and helped me double down on that opinion.

While Anna once again hopes to document heroes in their swimsuits to sell to the highest bidder as a means of filling the Order’s coffers, this time she’s decided to abandon her goal of starting her own playboy magazine in place of starting… What I can only think to describe as her own pornography website.

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I’m honestly not sure what to say, though Alphonse sums up my overall impressions fairly well:

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Anyways, that just about bookmarks everything once again. You go to the Nohrian islands to find scantily-clad heroes under a fighting contract so you can get pictures of them. Starting with the girls:

Then hitting the boys as well, since Anna is an equal opportunity monetarily-driven pervert as it turns out:

Then, once you get to the end of the line with Anna’s movie collection complete, she finds that loopholes once again ruin her plans.

This, of course, leads to a comical overreaction from a character now afraid of going bankrupt. Though this one takes the cake as one of the strangest experiences I think I’ve had as a gamer.

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Never before has a video game character asked me to strip down and put on a skimpy swimsuit. Caught me pretty off guard, though I’m not sure if I’d say doing so was a good or a bad thing in the grand scheme of things.

That odd experience was really the biggest thing this part of the ‘filler arc’ had to offer, and I’m already pretty much out of things to say about it. Just off of one full stamina bar I was able to collect all of the orbs available from this story focus, so I’ll probably be spending some time trying to get my hands on Xander while playing Splatoon with my friends and grinding up cards against Yami Marik in Duel Links on the side.

Which, by the way, is another super cool event going on right now. However, I don’t have too much to say about it beyond the fact that I love being able to use Marik now, so I didn’t think it would be worth a whole post on its own. You can check out some information on it here if you’re really curious about what the deal is there.

Speaking of probably not being worth a whole post on its own, one of the reasons I’ll be working hard to get a Xander summoned is so I’ll be able to use him in the Voting Gauntlet coming up on the horizon:

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This summer hero-themed gauntlet looks like it’s going to be way more exciting than the healer unit-themed gauntlet we had in the last go around, and I’ll definitely be backing my boy Xander all the way even if I don’t personally have one to use. Though if he loses I’ll probably go with Gaius. Or I’ll improvise if both are taken down, I suppose.

We’ll see how it all turns out with time.


Another thing relevant to the game that I figured would be worth noting in this post is the launch of Feh Channel, where the in-game item delivery owl (called Feh, appropriately enough, not-so-coincidently matching the anagram for the game’s name) tells you all about everything you want to know about the future of Fire Emblem Heroes.img_5760

The channel series, if it’s a continual venture and not just a one-off clever way to do what is essentially a Nintendo Direct, will be nice and informative going forward. Just the first video that has been done really gives us a solid low down on everything that’s going on over the next month or so.

I’d check it out for yourself here, as there really is a lot of interesting information about things like the upcoming voting gauntlet, tempest trials updates, summoning appearance rate changes, a new game mode, the mobile app’s sixth month anniversary (can’t believe its already been that long, personally) and more.

The format they use with the owl is a little bit strange and admittedly annoying to an extent, but it’s still great if you want to get a look ahead of time at what I’ll likely be talking about here. If you don’t want to sit through the long-winded approach – which I can’t imagine why not if you’ve read up to this point in a post like this on my blog – everything boils down to this:

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Image courtesy of the Nintendo Mobile Youtube account

I’d say the Grand Hero Battle against Valter at the end of August has me most excited in terms of looking ahead. Seeing another Sacred Stones character appear suggest that perhaps the game will be in the limelight soon enough… With Neimi hopefully riding the coattails. I’ll never stop being excited for her.


All in all it’s going to be a nice distraction from school starting up again, since at this point I’ve got Daily Titan orientation coming up soon alongside preparations for a new work opportunity I’ve been invited to take part in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that soon enough, but for now just know that I’ll be stressing myself out well before classes even begin for the semester.

Though I suppose relieving that stress is what video games are best for.

How do you feel about the new summoning focus? Or about any of the upcoming updates we’ll be seeing in Fire Emblem Heroes? Let me know in the comments below, as I just love discussing all of this stuff if that wasn’t obvious enough already.

July 18, 2017 Article Published

Bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your feeds in the middle of the summer, were you? Well news never sleeps for the Daily Titan, so here we are.

Okay that’s not totally true, things have been fairly dormant for a while, but when there’s big enough news we jump on it to be online content at least.

In this case the news relates back to Eric Canin, who you’ll likely remember as that guy I wrote a billion stories about with my co-editor Sarah last semester. An extraordinary moment of serendipity presented itself yesterday as the news desk got an email early in the day with an update from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook. He was making good on his word from before the spring semester ended to keep us up to date on the latest happenings in the Canin case.

He gave us early access to the university’s official statement on the outcome of the arbitration that settled the debate between the school, who apparently looked to terminate Canin after the altercation in February, and the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union looking to fight back and have Canin keep his job based on their collective bargaining agreement.

Because I’ve been working on this story for so long – I still call it my baby in friendly company – I just about immediately jumped on the scoop when I had it in my hand. It was admittedly a little bittersweet working on it without Sarah, as she graduated from CSUF last semester, but the show must go on as they say.

Knowing who were the big players in the case leading up to this point, I did a fairly quick interview with Cook over email to clarify some points about this leg of the investigation before hitting up Tyler McMillen, a representative of the CFA, and members of the College Republicans club (Who we’d hoped to get a statement from for this initial breaking news… But since we didn’t get a response had to pass on in favor of, well, breaking the news. We’ll inevitably get a response article out, I’m sure).

However, arguably the biggest success of this piece was getting comments from Eric Canin himself. That’s right, Ashlyn – a reporter (also now graduated from CSUF) and friend of mine from the editorial board – had access to Canin’s cell phone number because she helped him out a little after the initial incident. Because she was so on the ball that day, we were able to stay in touch with him up until the investigation really heated up and he wasn’t able to talk anymore.

Now that the investigation is over, I figured it would only be right to hit him up and ask for his statement, especially given the fact that Cook suggested he intended to return this semester to teach at Fullerton. Thanks to the good standing he had with Ashlyn, I was able to get some comments over text and was eternally grateful for it.

Seriously, you would not believe how gleeful I was when he actually responded favorably. I was quite literally over the moon about getting that first-hand comment in the story.

Given the fact that the investigation’s results only came out yesterday, it seems like I had one of the more comprehensive pieces on the update given my advanced notice, which just goes to show you how important connections are in this line of work.

If you want to check out the story in its entirety (and for this one I definitely recommend you do as I’m honestly really proud of this piece), you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over at the link on the right, where you can get completely up to date on the Canin saga!

A saga which I can only imagine will be entering another stretch as we get into the reactions to him returning to campus. Hoo boy I’m sure there are going to be some reactions.

Thus, I leave off with that old cliché – don’t touch your remote. I’m sure it’s going to keep being interesting, and you’ll find more updates here in the future. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Sick days and trading card games

Sick days and trading card games

I haven’t been feeling so hot today, so most of my morning and afternoon has been spent sleeping.

However, the part of my day that hasn’t been spent sleeping (or writing this, to be fair) has been spent taking a little trip down memory lane. After getting my friend addicted to Duel Links – you’re welcome by the way, Sam – she dug up some of her old physical Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

So I did the same thing:

Turns out these things weren’t quite as deeply buried in my closet as I thought they were. Though clearly I was not all that organized when I played Yu-Gi-Oh! some time ago, as I left the cards in my box in utter disarray.

Obviously that meant it was time to spend the next hour or so looking through what cards I have and organizing them for potential future use.

The first step I took when approaching the problem of sorting such a large, disorganized collection was splitting them into cards I recognize from my time playing Duel Links vs. cards that were completely new to my current understanding of the game.

Piles of cards from Duel Links (left) vs. Cards not in Duel Links (right)

This first step was eye-opening in a number of ways. For one thing, it helped to show me just how many cards I own – which is way more than I expected honestly. I know I was really into the cards at one point, but I didn’t realize I spent this much money buying packs and such.

Going through each and every one of the cards I own also gave me a bit of a deeper appreciation both for Duel Links and for the time I spent playing the game as a kid.

When I was younger, I collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards but honestly never had any idea how to play the game. Outside of watching the original anime series or playing what I remember to be a dumb Yu-Gi-Oh!-based game for the Gamecube, I never spent too much extra time actually learning the rules for how everything works in the card game.

In fact, I distinctly remember having a Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed birthday party one year in elementary school where my friend Chris Beattie brought over some instructional video so my group at the time could watch it, learn the game and actually play with our cards the proper way.

We never did, since I also remember the rest of us rejecting the idea in place of playing more of that dumb Gamecube game. Part of me wonders if I would have stuck with the game more consistently if we had learned way back then, but I suppose that delves into endless Butterfly Effect territory that I’m not really here to analyze.

Now that I do understand how the game works, I honestly appreciate the sheer complexity of how everything works so much more. There are plenty of cards in my left-hand piles that I actually use on a daily basis in Duel Links, so knowing that I had them way back when I didn’t even understand the rules is kind of mind-boggling.

On top of that, the size of my collection on the right-hand side, all the cards that aren’t currently in the mobile game, blows my mind just in that there’s so much more potential for the game to grow. I’m sure I don’t even have a decent percentile of all the cards that have ever been put into production, and in a way that makes me excited to see more cards added to the mobile game so I can learn how they all interact and create cool decks.

Once I finished separating my cards once, I decided to do it a second time into six different categories: Normal Monsters, Effect Monsters, Ritual Monsters (and Ritual Spells), Fusion Monsters, Spell Cards and Trap Cards.

Oh, and I also separated out the instructional manuals and play mats:

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Made them into a cute little triangle. Because why not?

I could have been way more specific and deep with my divisions, splitting up the monster cards by type and attribute or splitting up the spell cards by type, for example. But I’m still pretty tired, so I decided not to go quite that deep. Maybe I’ll take things a step forward in the future.

So for now, I’ve left things at this:

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Major categories with brand new dividing cards. Far more pleasing to the eye and easy to identify than what I had originally. Originally, the best I could comprehend was that Sanga of the Thunder was sitting on top of everything else on the right side.

Real helpful, past me.

Speaking of Sanga of the Thunder, one thing I found while sorting through my cards was that I seemed to be ready to play the Paradox Brothers-themed deck well before I knew that was a themed deck to play.

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The only thing I’m missing is a Gate Guardian card. If I had that, I could probably build a pretty cool deck with these cards and whatever else I have buried away.

This isn’t the only cool set of cards I was able to find in my collection.

Here’s some Red-Eyes and dragon-related cards that I was able to find. Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon was actually one of the first things I saw, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be willing to shell out money to get copies of it in Duel Links to use for myself. It looks absolutely amazing.

I also wouldn’t complain about having three copies of Stamping Destruction in the game, since it’s a pretty hard to get Ultra Rare card.

But oh well, I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, check these out:

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These three Sphinx cards look wicked and have some crazy effects. These three and the Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon are definitely the cards I’m really hoping these show up in Duel Links so I can use them.

A bunch of the cards I found have strong sentimental value just from being iconic in the anime. Swords of Revealing Light definitely hit me the hardest, though I can’t deny that the old school art for Dark Magician is seriously wicked.

You could apparently get this old version of Dark Magician in Duel Links if you were playing at a certain point, but I was not playing at the time. So… Oh well. Missed opportunity for me there I suppose.

Also, while we’re on the subject of those cards, I apparently have a wide breadth of cards Yugi Muto used:

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I build all sorts of decks with these cards nowadays, so it ties into the idea of knowing I had them way back when and respecting them that much more now.

Another good example of cards I’m using now comes in an actually very relevant form.

When I found A Legendary Ocean in my collection, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. The deck I’m showing on the right was actually just built yesterday when I began to grind Mako Tsunami up to lv. 40. The timing of that specific card showing up right after I pulled together something to showcase that card is just too perfect.

Some of the more interesting cards I have are those printed in foreign languages.

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I have no idea why I have cards in any languages other than English, since I don’t really speak any languages other than English and a few sentences in Mandarin. It’s strange, as I have way more than the two I’m showing above. Yet, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. If anything, it makes these cards a little bit more unique.

In other interesting card print differences come these ‘magic’ cards:

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I’m so used to just calling these ‘spell’ cards that seeing ‘magic’ instead really caught me off guard. I suppose that’s just what they used to be called or something. Having the cards written like this is probably more valuable as a result, I’d think.

Also speaking of unique, valuable cards, I had a good set of highly coveted prismatic print cards hidden away just ready to be rediscovered.

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The title for my favorite prismatic card definitely goes to Nightmare Penguin.

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Seriously, just think about it. First things first, its name is Nightmare Penguin. That’s incredible in its own right. The art doesn’t disappoint either, evoking images of Oswald Cobblepot in the best possible way. On top of that the card has a pretty cool ability and nice defense for a four star monster.

So basically I lied earlier when I said I just wanted to see the Red-Eyes monster and the sphinx monsters in Duel Links. I want to see Nightmare Penguin get added too, Konami.

Finally, I also found my prized Egyptian God Cards: Obelisk the Tormentor and Slifer the Sky Dragon.

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Or, at least, they were some of my most prized possessions at one point in time. I remember shelling out extra at card shops to get these and having week-long arguments with my Yu-Gi-Oh!-playing friend group over whether or not they were legitimate or not.

I always adamantly argued they were real, of course.

However… Now that I’m older and looking at them next to the rest, I have to admit that they look pretty fake. It’s a shame when considering how much I stood by them growing up, but honestly it’s not all that unexpected.

Oh well, either way I’ll still have the memories with these being wicked cool. They still look pretty rad too, so I’ll be happy to show them off for the sake of those memories at least.


I know this medium of talking about things after the fact with screenshots and some text isn’t necessarily the most dynamic way of experiencing these sorts of things, but I hope you all enjoyed going through these old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as much as I did! Obviously I didn’t show off all of them, since that would probably take a few years, but the highlights are great either way.

Since I’m so into Duel Links and talk about it here on occasion, I figured these real card memories would be a nice thing to share on here as well.

Even if my rambling might be a little more incoherent than usual since I’m not feeling great.

Just in case it did bug some of you, I’ll leave things off on this note. Some of my favorite ‘funny text’ cards:

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Oh I’m sorry, what was that? You say there was a piece of Exodia slipped into that small slideshow somewhere?

A piece of Exodia not chucked into the ocean by Weevil Underwood?

Huh… Strange.

#1pieceof5 #humblebrag