Thus Laevatein is really the only character I’d say I’m very interested in summoning. She’s my favorite Book II character, has cute artwork and packs a great 1-2 punch against other mages with Mirror Impact.
Seriously Intelligent Systems? +6 Attack, +10 Resistance and no counterattacks?
You can’t just make these characters that broken.
I used the Paralogue orbs to get a few extra shots at her, but I haven’t pulled anything special and I’m not going to rush it.
Once again we cut away from dramatic story progression to bring you the latest in Anna’s attempts to make money off of some softcore pornography.
Or… Do we?
Anna is feeling self-reflective this year and promises not to do anything that can give her a bad reputation at risk of being fired by the royal family.
Which means the entire Paralogue is going to be focused on trying to avoid money-making schemes, isn’t it?
Well to be fair the first two battles completely disregard this plot point and focus on the reunion of the Múspell sisters.
Then the reunion of Ylgr (future Tempest Trials reward) and Helbindi.
They’re both cute interactions. But that doesn’t stop them from being pure filler in an admittedly great dusk luau-themed environment.
Don’t worry, though. We return to the exploits of Anna soon after.
By which I mean Anna buckles under the pressure of trying to repress her desire for cash and falls ill. She passes out on the beach, leading to the Order of Heroes realizing just how integral money is to her character.
To a ridiculous degree.
So that’s Fire Emblem Heroes’ 2019 summer banner. Probably the only one we’re getting this year.
I’m a little lukewarm because of my orb stinginess, but I will absolutely try to building my Laevatein squad.
Let me know what you think of the banner down in the comments! How does it compare to previous summer banners? Do you agree that Laegjarn’s arm looks fucked up?
Seriously, do you? I need to know that I’m not alone here.
Well-deserved acclaim at that. This is a title with some incredible pixel art design, a treasure trove of content and enough charm to reduce your Pikachu’s attack by six stages — all made by one person, ConcernedApe.
I bought the game alongside my friend Samantha, who was one of my close friends to recommend it years ago when I had no time to join the fad.
We’ve gone through cycles of playing different co-operative games together in the past. From brief stints with Don’t Starve Together to an innocuous MMORPG called Aura Kingdom, as well as hundreds of hours invested in Terraria just a few summers before she moved away.
Unfortunately she’s been a little more busy with work so far this summer, and we haven’t gotten the chance to play a lot. But I started my own single-player file to learn the basics so I wouldn’t be a complete disgrace.
I fell into the game hard. I’ve been up playing until 3:00 a.m. a few more times in the last week than I’d care to admit.
Originally I intended to write a review of the game for my blog to justify all the hours I’ve poured in. But I’m three years late to the party and everything I could say has already been said.
Plus it would more or less just be hundreds of words gushing about what a mastahpiece it is, and that can’t be very exciting for a three-year-old game.
You can honestly judge for yourself based solely on the trailer:
However, something strange happened with this game.
Even though I resigned myself not to write a review, a totally different craving bore its way out of my subconscious mind after watching my single-player character get married to my Stardew love, Emily.
There was a particular string of events and cutscenes leading up to the marriage that I thought flowed together like an unintentionally beautiful story…
And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
My blood ached with the desire to show my adoration for the game by doing what I do best: Writing.
The other day I announce my intention to ruin my credibility by writing a Stardew Valley fanfiction, totally abandoning my original book for an afternoon to use digital ink on flourishing personal video game experiences instead.
Patches and balance updates have been constant throughout the game’s nine years, as recent as May 9, 2019. But looking through RotMG’s update history on its curated RealmEye forum shows a particularly interesting early life.
I can’t tell you exactly when I first played RotMG but it was undoubtedly early on in the game’s lifecycle. Probably around the same time as I was playing tower defense flash games on Addicting Games — which is honestly a post for another day.
Recently I had a craving to pick up the game again, and found that many things were the same despite its scope growing wildly.
Now I’m sure you must be asking, “how exactly does RotMG work?”
After you make an account, first you pick a class.
And by that I mean you start with Wizard and have to unlock everyone else. More classes are unlocked as you reach level milestones, such as the Priest coming when Wizard reaches level 5.
With a character in tow you choose a realm to explore out of the Nexus hub world.
Within each realm you encounter hordes of monsters based on fantasy creatures and tropes led by a larger boss variant.
Or… Not so fantasy creatures. Like this Sumo Master and his minions.
Sometimes a boss monster has multiple phases when damaged.
In case you couldn’t tell, I really like the Sumo Master. He stands out in the best way.
Occasionally a monster will drop the entrance to a stand-alone dungeon on top of their typical loot.
These little mazes have a major boss at the end that will usually drop a couple pieces of loot.
Now would probably be a good time to discuss gameplay specifics so you can understand the loot system.
RotMG is simple to play. You move with WASD, aim and shoot with the mouse and use a special attack with spacebar.
Every class uses different weapons, special items and armor alongside a few overlapping items like rings with universal effects like raising health.
Characters are balanced for different play styles. Archers can shoot up to three arrows at once, making them more offensive than the Priest with one slow shot. However, the Priest’s special attack is a local heal that can buff allies.
Yet none of them have armor that compares to the Warrior.
Loot drops are the only way to improve your character’s weapon and armor without resorting to microtransactions, but enemies are just as likely to drop goods for a different class.
Killing monsters will level your character up to 20, at which point you start accruing “fame.” Whenever they die (because there is Permadeath in RotMG), fame is tallied up for a system where each class can earn up to five achievement stars.
As far as I’m aware the stars are purely a status symbol, though fame can be leveraged to do things like start a guild.
That’s about all there is. You fight hordes to level up and gain loot to survive until you can defeat bigger boss enemies on each map, all the while collecting pets and making friends.
Once all of the Mad God’s “Heroes” are killed, all players in a realm are teleported to the Mad God’s Castle… But so much happens that my game lags until I get kicked out.
So I’ve never personally seen Oryx.
But the game is still incredibly fun in how simple and immediately goal-oriented it is. The art style is charming and design philosophy appeals to my fantasy leanings.
That said, my main problem with RotMG besides its tendency to lag (on browser at least — I’ve never the steam version) is microtransactions.
There are an obnoxious amount of quality of life benefits locked behind currency you need to buy with real money.
If you could purchase these things with fame or obtain coins through grinding, I wouldn’t be so annoyed at the system.
But to be fair, nothing is behind a paywall that impedes gameplay. Even if in-game purchases are more prevalent than I remember.
At least additions like daily log-in bonuses have improved the experience over time.
Now if only they could add more than one looping music track over every part of the game.
You’ll want to play on mute. Perhaps catch up on GDQ runs in the background.
Music aside, if you’ve never heard of Realm of the Mad God before, I’d recommend checking it out. It’s a free game with a big history on the Internet that’s simple to pick up and try.
If you have heard of it before, let me know! I’d be cool to get some confirmation I’m not the only person in my small sphere of influence that has challenged Oryx.
I’ve never played a DQ game or Banjo-Kazooie, but I know plenty of people who love those series and I’m happy to see them so happy.
Especially given the love and attention both fighters are getting. The Hero has multiple alternate costumes and a final smash featuring different protagonists from that series, Grant Kirkhope was involved in doing the music for Banjo…
Masahiro Sakurai truly is the king of reviving Nintendo history, and looping in Rare was a great way to include a fighter with die-hard fans who fits in the roster far better than Minecraft Steve or Master Chief.
Look at how hype the Donkey Kong characters are for Banjo and Kazooie
Look I played the first couple Olympic crossover games with my sister and they were decent minigame collections.
But the fact that this series is still going astounds me.
Some of you would probably prefer I put Cadence of Hyrule in this major slot since it looks cool and is only $25 bucks, which definitely entices me to buy the game when it drops this Thursday in spite of never playing Crypt of the Necrodancer.
Breath of the Wild is getting a direct sequel, bringing it in-line with Majora’s Mask and the Wind Waker series. A sequel where Link and Zelda are going to be traveling the ravaged Hyrule together and discover some demented shit.
The trailer was just an “in development” teaser, but they sure did succeed in making it emotionally provocative. I’m curious to find out more… Though a lot of that is based on hype from my friends’ speculations.
Which means I guess I have to go finish Breath of the Wild.
Damn you, Nintendo. Quit monopolizing my time when you’re about to monopolize my time with all these new games!
Those were the big ticket items out of this E3 Direct for me, but there were a lot of smaller things that piqued my interest too.
Nah is the headliner for this banner, and a fairly worthwhile one. Oracle’s Breath is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.
She and Yarne are also some of my favorite child units. Yarne and Morgan are top five Awakening ships for me, so I’m more than willing to pull for him — which is good considering he’s a speedy boi between the Solo, Wave and Galeforce skills.
Kjelle and Brady are less significant characters to me personally and they have weaker skill sets.
But I am a fan of Kjelle and Owain… Despite Owain going to Nohr and becoming Odin, who I ship with Camilla.
I like her with Severa too, yet Severa also goes to Nohr so it’s the same problem.
That returning trio in Fates really screwed up my shipping charts. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in Three Houses.
Also Cynthia is coming soon. I didn’t connect with her in Awakening, but I’ve warmed to her confident demeanor over time.
Her descriptive text in Heroes is a perfect example why:
Isn’t that amazing?
Luckily there’s a Forging Bonds event to give us some free summon tickets, because that should supplement the orbs out of this story chapter so I can save up for Lute… Or Genny… Or the summer units.
Book III, Chapter 8 — Truth of a Name
At the start of this chapter, the Order of Heroes continue exploring the destroyed Ask from Chapter 7. They want to find out what happened to it, as that may provide clues on how to stop Hel.
Along the way they encounter Líf twice. The first time he almost kills Alfonse, but is stopped by Sharena.
Don’t worry about that. Foreshadowing.
As is the second encounter where Eir tries to find out what memories were wiped away by her mother.
There are a few bland encounters with Awakening kids that conclude in a library.
The Order discovers that this Askr was destroyed in a future timeline when they teamed up with Embla to enact yet another deus ex machina Rite that makes Hel vulnerable…
At the cost of all the lives in both kingdoms.
Bodes well for whenever Princess Veronica and Loki show up.
After that exposition dump, the final battle features Líf as its boss. Once he is defeated Alfonse goes Sherlock Holmes on our asses and deduces:
Líf has actually been doomed future Alfonse all along! Which means that Thrasir is probably Veronica, both of whom became Hel’s generals after they died trying to stop her.
So I guess now we get a ‘change the doomed future’ arc.
Fitting set-up for a Chapter that features the Awakening children.
Intelligent Systems just had to schedule this update for the same day as Nintendo’s E3 presentation.
It’s clever. Pick up that search activity.
Unfortunately, staying up late to write this will make me less likely to catch the 9:00 a.m. presentation live. Not that I really mind as the video will be online, so I’m still planning on writing a post about my thoughts on that.
At least Fire Emblem finally pulled my head out of Stardew Valley.
There’s a bunch to talk about, good and possibly not-as-good, so let’s jump right into what stands out the most.
The Galar Region and the Wild Area
Over the years, I’ve learned that my favorite thing about Pokémon is the world each region helps to create. A world that’s similar to ours but flourishing with fantastical elements on account of the creatures roaming through it.
Unova, Kalos and Alola made this especially apparent as Game Freak experimented with landmarks and traditions from places outside of Japan to great effect.
The theme song for the UK-based Galar Region heard in this and the last Direct is a bit more generic, but aesthetically the world looks like series of a watercolor paintings on the graphically superior Nintendo Switch.
The trainer models also look far better than the flat-faced happy trainers in Alola, and fist bumping Scorbunny helped me settle on my starter.
Hands down the best thing we learned about the Galar Region today is the existence of the “Wild Area.”
The Wild Area is ostensively a Breath of the Wild-esque open world that connects towns with free-roaming movement and camera controls. It also has overworld wild Pokémon like Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee who change via environment and time of day.
Also it has local multiplayer roaming elements. Need I say more?
Luckily Galar’s human inhabitants don’t seem too bad either.
Meanwhile Hop is our generic rival/friend-type who has a name eerily similar to both Hau and Hugh… Because Game Freak loves rivals with ‘H’ names apparently.
His older brother is Leon, the region champion and person Hop wants to defeat.
Personally I think the gameplay themes of Pokémon could have been utilized better if Leon was your character’s brother that you aspire to beat. But early revealing a beloved, undefeated champion with links to other major characters possibly sets up a fun secret villain twist.
So when do we find out that the villain team leader in Pokémon Sword and Shield is a Henry VIII surrogate who doesn’t actually do bad things with Pokémon but has killed multiple ex-wives for not producing a male heir?
Meet Zacian and Zamazenta, the Legendary Pokémon of Galar.
Zacian is a good boy who runs around with a sword in his mouth and I love him.
Zamazenta is literally the exact same Pokémon but carrying a different weapon.
Whose decision was it to make the Legendary Pokémon so similar? I could see there being lore about the same Pokémon with different held items, but Cosmog kind of just did that idea. And Solgaleo/Lunala at least weren’t a bland duo.
Maybe they would have worked in a Rome-themed Region playing off of Romulus and Remus. But as it stands I’m ambivalent at best.
Pokémon changes mechanics frequently to keep things fresh.
Up to Gen 4’s physical/special move split, most of those changes were integral to underlying battle mechanisms that evolved the games.
Megas were a selling point by all accounts, something unique to Kalos. But it was a tastefully handled gimmick that gave old favorites new potential and meshed well with series’ themes of bonding with Pokémon. It remains popular.
Much less tastefully handled was Gen 7’s Z-Moves that provided a once-per-battle super attack which was only interesting when tied to a handful of unique Pokémon.
They were situational and not nearly as well conceived.
Now we have Dynamaxing: A similar limited-per-battle gimmick that turns Pokémon giant and essentially gives them a full set of Z-Moves for three turns.
I like some aspects of the Dynamax system, but overall I believe it could do more harm than good.
In the Wild Area, local co-op allows trainers to take on Dynamax Pokémon together.
This is cool, but I hope co-op isn’t limited to it. The main selling point of Dynamax Raids is encountering Pokémon you can’t find otherwise, but you’ll need a little more to impress a 22-year-old Pokémon scholar who already owns every creature.
But Kaiju Pokémon are more restrictive than Megas design-wise.
Every gym in Galar will be a soccer stadium with an open ceiling for these Dynamax transformations. The developers use this to emphasize an idea of battling as spectator sport in Galar, but uniform gyms remove the uniqueness of a palace designed by its inhabitants from earlier games.
Part of why I love Black and White 2 is because every gym was unique down to the remix of the same theme for each building. That was awesome, and we might lose that uniqueness because of Dynamaxing.
And that, ladies and mentlegen, is today’s Sword and Shield info dump.
I might not be super impressed with Dynamax or the game’s Legendaries, but I’m still incredible stoked for new Pokémon games.
And I’m stoked to talk about about the build-up to them!
Those descendants of the Hero-King were marked with a Brand of the Exalt to show the holy bloodline they inherited from Naga: King of the Divine Dragons who created those legendary blades in her ultimate benevolence toward humans.
Despite lacking the power to create, many consider Naga the world’s creation deity.
Naga’s history in Fire Emblem lore ties back to one idea: Killing malevolent dragons.
Her skill set as the first Astra Mythic Hero in Fire Emblem Heroes reflects this idea perfectly.
She flies in (reminiscent of her appearance in Fire Emblem Awakening) and grants every adjacent ally effectiveness against dragon foes. For each ally with that descriptor she receives a boost to all of her stats.
That’s her entire gimmick. It’s an interesting and likely effective one, but narrowly focused toward players who actively seek competitive online matches.
Though to be fair her A Skill refers specifically to Aether Raids, so she’s obviously meant to appear in online modes of battle.
I happen to not be very focused on the Player-versus-Player aspects of Heroes, so Naga is more interesting to me on account of her lore than her battle prowess.
Yet she comes with a good enough entourage — particularly on blue stones — for me to like her banner quite a bit:
So I looked for things to listen to while playing, and my newest obsession has been a series on Pokémon typings from Lockstin & Gnoggin.
There’s actually a somewhat interesting history behind my discovery of this series.
The channel’s “Every Pokémon Type Explained” has been recommended to me by the platform a number of times. Each episode was recognizable from a uniform thumbnail with black borders around images of different Pokémon with clickbait-y text suggesting they should NOT be that typing.
It always seemed over-the-top for my tastes, so I never watched any part of the series.
Cue life lesson about not judging a book by its cover.
TerminalMontage is another fairly recent addition to my watch list, but became a favorite thanks to his “something about” series where the plots of video games are just torn apart with a goofy cartoon style and memes.
I enjoyed his style of commentary and seemingly well-calcified knowledge of Pokémon lore. Thus, I finally bit the bullet and started watching the typing videos I’d put off.
In essence each video takes one of the 18 types (minus two as of my writing this) and tries to divide each Pokémon of that type into categories of real-life equivalence. And yes, he does actually indicate which ones might not belong. Clickbait justified.
For instance the rock-type video divides monsters into living rocks or beings that adorn rocks, and further breaks down what kind of real mineral each Pokémon represents.
Meanwhile the ghost-type video (in lieu of real-world science) breaks down every monster into what mythological legend or ghost story they represent.
It’s a really interesting and analytical series about what many probably consider an innocuous franchise. I appreciate the depth and flashy style of editing that shows a lot of care on the production’s back-end.
As a result, that’s my recommendation for the day. I’m always a fan of pointing out great content where I find it… And I really don’t have that much else to talk about tonight.
But stay tuned.
Tomorrow I will complete my video game/YouTube/movie media trifecta with a review of a little movie I’m going to see called John Wick: Chapter 3.
When I say this is a post written almost purely out of obligation, I’m not kidding. Maybe it’s in contrast to my excited reactions for Berkut and Alm, but I can’t remember the last time a banner was this much of a dud for me.
When I first watched the video, I had no idea who I was looking at. Usually I’ll have heard of a character if they’re popular, but not this time around.
Meanwhile Pent and (Tempest Trial reward) Louise are from The Blazing Blade.
Both convenient gaps in my Fire Emblem knowledge.
Unfortunately, none of them have anything to their unit skills that stand out enough to make me care.
Thus, Fjorm is the only character I’m interested in because I know her and she has some interesting skills. She’s a flying healer who negates dancing and gives allies a grounded version of flier formation. That’s kind of cool!
At least she’s the main focus of the Paralogue story. So we’ve got that going for us?
Paralogue 34 — Bridal Belonging
It’s just too bad Fjorm’s starring role is undercut by vague generalities meant to push an unrequited love subplot that Intelligent Systems doesn’t even fully commit to.
Our story begins with the Order of Heroes taking Fjorm to the Bridal festival. She’s admiring all the dresses when one bride-to-be turns out to be:
A way cuter version of herself.
Damnit Heroes, stop making me want to summon for this one character on a dud banner. I need to save my orbs.
Alfonse suggests this Fjorm may from the future rather than just an alternate Fjorm. An idea that sets an entirely new precedent? I don’t think having future versions of your timeline’s self has ever been established before.
And I’d rather not think about the Back to the Future shenanigans that might ensure if the character is summoned under those circumstances.
We follow Bride Fjorm as she gets advice about love from the new units, suggesting she’s worthy if she unconditionally loves a person or would give everything to protect them.
She says there is a person she would do that for, and based on prior experiences I can surmise she’s talking about the player character.
But this Paralogue does everything it can to cut her off.
I guess it does that because once the final battle is over, Sharena offers to be Fjorm’s wingman after she refuses to tell Alfonse who she would “theoretically” love.
As prior experience suggests, Sharena also has a thing for the player character. Which means we’ve got a real drama-bomb building under the surface.
Because this wouldn’t be an anime gatcha game without all of the waifus being in love with you for no other reason than to incentivize spending money on your preferred smooch.
So that’s that. My cynical, bored take on 2019 brides in Fire Emblem Heroes.
I’m coming from the bias of ignorance, so if these characters are worth caring about let me know! I’d like to play through their games eventually, after all.
But for now, this is all I’ve got.
If nothing else it’s good to be back in the writing mood!
I’ll have more time to come up with things to write now that we’re in Summer Initiative take 2, but other than an official write-up on Graduation once I have my Grad photos I have no idea what I’ll be writing about.
It’s going to be a real grab bag. Look forward to that!