Tag: Fire Emblem Heroes

Falling in love with the Fire Emblem Heroes 2.2.0 Update

Falling in love with the Fire Emblem Heroes 2.2.0 Update

Good god there’s a lot to cover here today. Guess that’s what happens when I’m so busy that I don’t have the time to address these updates as they come out.

Though… I suppose it is nice to be able to get it all out of the way at once rather than having three separate, incomplete posts.

Probably the only problem is the fact that this post is going to be a billion words long if I get to rambling on too much. Since I’m already basically doing that, I’ll zip it and jump into all the Fire Emblem goodness.

I’ll try to keep it brief. Promise.

It’s not going to be brief, is it?



The Version 2.2.0 Update

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Starting off our little marathon of coverage is this big puppy: one new Fire Emblem Heroes update fresh off the presses.

Battle Screen Layout

Probably the most obvious change right off the bat is a brand new battle mode select screen:

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Okay well it isn’t COMPLETELY new or anything. But it’s new enough.

Instead of there being two separate icons for the Tempest Trials and Voting Gauntlets, the two categories have been combined and now appear together in an “events” vortex. This change has cleared room for… Something.

I honestly have no idea what the new upper-left icon is. It looks like the Garden of Eden, or some kind of fountain of power. The name is obscured and we can’t select it yet, but supposedly it’s going to be maps specifically used for Legendary Heroes and their blessed allies.

Which will finally give me a reason to use my blessings.

Also included in the new events vortex is a brand new game mode, which is arguably the most significant addition to this update.

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Tap Battle Game Mode

 

Tap Battling is… Interesting.

Interesting is about the only really good thing I can think to say about them upon first impressions, however.

Let’s break things down.

Opening up the Tap Battle menu, as you can see above, makes everything seem very similar to a Tempest Trial, with the two-week timer ticking down.

However, the similarities stop there. An early noticeable aspect of the game mode is that it fills the same niche as Arena Assault by requiring no stamina, dueling swords or anything to play. You can literally tackle the labyrinth endlessly if you want.

If you do decide to tackle it, there are two game modes to work with:

 

 

As you can see, Casual mode has you tapping the Summoner at the bottom of your phone screen to defeat an enemy when they reach the red square in front of your units, whereas Expert mode requires you to tap the row of the unit that’s under attack.

I enjoy the aesthetic presentation of this mode, if nothing else. Being able to select whatever units you want to bring is an interesting idea as far as letting you choose a team you want to tap with, and it’s cool to see their sprites so close up against a wide-open background for once.

On top of that, even if the enemy placement is rather spaced out and boring on easy difficulty, there is also a hard difficulty that makes tapping along to the rhythm of the song a little more exciting:

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Multiple kinds of units appear in hard difficulty too, as opposed to just sword-wielders on easy.

There are also special boss stages every 20 floors, where you encounter a notable character that attacks each of your unit’s lanes in a set order until you can wipe out their health bar.

 

Each time you beat a level, you’re scored based on how much of a combo streak you keep throughout.

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The Summoner be looking cute in this graphic here. Just sayin.

However, as cute as the Summoner is, he can’t stop the ever creeping mediocrity of the event as a whole. While it all sounds interesting in concept… It frankly becomes dreadfully dull and underutilized in execution.

For one, as you might have noticed before, I said hard mode makes it more enticing to tap along to the song. THE song.

There’s only one song.

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Granted, we only have 40 floors currently, and there are 100 floors all together promised…

But seriously Intelligent Systems? ONE song? In a music-based rhythm game?

I’ll give them props for making each stage have a unique pattern despite going against the same base song… But it’s so painfully boring to just hear the same song over and over again.

Plus, each stage goes through five floors at a time in this game’s logic. With only 40 floors available so far, that means there are eight stages (with more being promised to appear every day). These stages are quick to run through on easier difficulties and feel less like accomplishments than they would have if each stage was a distinct floor to work through by itself.

With that said, I only mentioned them being quick on easier difficulties, right? Hard mode is definitely the way to go then, isn’t it?

Well, hold your hypothetical horses my dear reader.

Hard mode is more engaging, yes. In fact, I quite like the idea of there being options to change game style and difficulty to create a more customizable experience for players… But the game is set up in a way that makes it a superfluous addition.

Clearing each series of floors earns you a reward. However, each stage literally only has one reward.

If you beat a stage on easy, you can’t get a reward for hard. If you beat it in casual mode, you can’t get a reward for expert mode.

Despite this, the four permutations of play style are all given desperate rankings. So for example, if you get an S-rank on Easy/Casual, you don’t get the S-ranking on Hard/Casual. But you get no extra reward for taking the same stages on again other than bragging rights.

Seriously, as far as the informational post put out by Intelligent Systems says, there isn’t any sort of extra reward planned for getting full S-rankings on each permutation. The game simply claims it’s an “easy-to-play battle mode.”

Honestly if I wasn’t such a completionist with my games, I probably wouldn’t bother playing this mode after the first run of it. But I am, so I’m going to hate myself and continue playing it just in case something happens later.

Something just really bugs me about Tap Battles. I feel like there’s an interesting concept under the surface of a boring, empty-feeling game mode.

For example, I like the idea of bringing the units you want, but the choices you make have no impact on your time in-game. I understand why considering each map is specifically timed to go with the song, but there was so much more that could have been done.

Why not make it so a sword unit you bring is super effective against an axe-wielding boss? Have their attacks take away more of the bosses health bar, or something along those lines.

I don’t know… Maybe this will grow on me, but for right now I’d honestly say it’s bland and forgettable. Luckily it will keep updating and provide more rewards to retain interest, but what a missed opportunity.

Speaking of forgotten, however…

Weapon Refinery Update

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A slightly more anticipated part of this update, for me at least, was the addition of new weapons to refine.

Basically, every unit who uses Falchion can now upgrade the legendary sword with various effects. Lucina’s upgraded Falchion grants her buffs to all of her stats when she’s standing next to allies while Marth’s upgraded Falchion buffs his allies when he’s next to them, for example.

The other five units shown in the image above can also now upgrade their basic weapons into character-specific legendary weapons. For units like Raven, Felicia and Caeda, these buffs were hugely needed and welcomed.

Hell, I’ve had a Raven since probably my fifth 5 star summon, and only now am I considering using him.

I’m just hoping Eirika gets an upgrade to her sword soon so I can keep my child growing.

New Special Battle Map Rotations

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This is probably the most interesting update in the bunch, if you ask me.

Two different daily rotations have been added into the Special Maps menu.

The first offers players the chance to fight Grand Hero Battles of the past. Seven of the heroes have apparently been retired to this fate, which will give us the opportunity to take them on whenever we want – if it’s the right date.

I love that idea, since it shows they’re planning on making room for new Grand Hero Battles to be implemented in the near future without having to worry about bringing these back in rarified time slots.

Plus, there are quests available for a full year to get extra things like orbs.

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Who can complain with that?

The second rotation comes in the form of Special Training Maps.

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There are five of these maps with five difficulty settings each that give you rewards when you beat them the first time.

Of course, that means that there will be no rewards remaining after the first week, but they’re apparently built to help train the units that are described in the title. It’s a nice idea, though slightly less so than the Grand Hero Battle rotation if you ask me.

Extra Patch Notes

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The last part of the 2.2.0 update is outlined in full right here. For the most part I don’t have anything to add.

Except… Thank god manaketes don’t have to transform each and every time a fight starts.

I really appreciate that kind of quality of life change.



Love Abounds Summoning Focus

That’s leg one of this marathon done. You all still with me?

Good.

Well then, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day.

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While I’ve been waiting for this holiday-centric summoning banner to arrive for some time now, I’m admittedly not super excited seeing that it centers around the Binding and Blazing Blade heroes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s not Fates- or Awakening-centric again, but these games have easily the third most granted alternate skins.

Maybe if I get the chance to play these original games at some point in the near future, I’ll be a little more caring for the heroes. But until then, let’s see what these new holiday heroes are packing, shall we?

  • LynWind’s Embrace
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    • The interesting thing about this Lyn is the fact that with her addition you can now have a team full of four different Lyns to take down your foes. Okay… Well that’s not the only interesting thing I suppose. I do actually like Lyn’s build. She’s a blue armored mage who can buff the movement of her fellow armored units, gains stats when she’s next to them and make the opponent use their special attacks less. Sounds pretty sweet, especially considering I don’t have any non-footsoldier magic units. Plus, I’ll have two of the game’s four Lyndis clones if I get her.
  • HectorJust Here to Fight
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    • Alright, Hector is… I guess the opposite of interesting, in a sense. His skills are essentially the same as his regular counterpart, just with a buffed up weapon, a new special attack and different armor-benefitting skill. While it isn’t exciting, his original form is still known for being a beast, so I’m pretty interested in going after him as well. Especially since he looks pretty legit in that black outfit of his.
  • LilinaBlush of Youth
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    • Lilina is arguably the unit I would want least on this banner… Even if I just cursed myself into getting her instead of Hector, since they’re the same color. She’s a green mage cavalier, which I already have in my own amazing form. Her skills are sub-par in my opinion despite making her a team leader, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over her. Sorry Lilina.
  • RoyYouthful Gifts
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    • Roy is our second bow knight, behind Lyn funnily enough (it’s a position which I still think should have gone to Neimi, Intelligent Systems. One day soon, I swear). However, he seems to pale in comparison to his friend, with just Death Blow going for him honestly. At least, in my opinion that is all he has going for him. He shares the same weapon skill with Valentine’s Day Lyn and Lilina, but I’m just not super impressed by them I guess.

Eliwood is also here as a special hero, but he’s going to show up in a Tempest Trial later this month.

While I’m not necessarily in love with these heroes as a group, I do actually quite like their overall Shakespearean theme. It’s a neat aesthetic to take on for a Romeo and Juliet callback of sorts.

If I had to pick, I’d say I’m looking out for either Hector or Lyn. Green and Blue orbs abound.

However, because I’m unfortunately not super in love with these lovey dovey heroes, I’m not going to spend a ton of orbs this time around. I had about 100 at the time the banner dropped, so I’m going to be disciplined and only use orbs when I get back up to 100.

If I don’t get anything, I’ll just spend some time building up again using the many, many events all happening at once. That way I’ll also have a ton of orbs around just in case I like whatever is coming in the future.

Now that I’ve discussed my thoughts on the heroes, you know what’s up next.

Story time, lovelies.

Luckily, this time we only have a Paralogue to sort through, not a full chapter. That makes things much easier on my for now.

Plus it opens up the opportunity for more creative level design, in this case fitting in with that Romeo and Juliet style I mentioned before.

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See what I mean? It’s a very medieval-styled festival in my opinion. War of the Roses era stuff.

But how does that cute aesthetic tie a story together?

Well it starts with the Order of Heroes preparing to head out to a festival for Devotion Day. Because the holidays in Fire Emblem can never just be in their natural forms.

Sharena has a very romanticized view of the holiday:

However, her allies have a… Much less romantic view of things.

Classic Anna.

When you arrive in the world, you start to come across the done up heroes, starting with Roy and Lilina.

They’re pretty much just being cute and flirting with each other.

Even if I haven’t played the games they’re in, I can appreciate a cute ship when I see it.

Once you defeat them you come across their parents preparing to take part in the festival.

Frankly, the exchange between them all is hilarious. I really enjoyed this part, so I’ll lay it out in pictures.

I just really like the idea of Hector going up against these people having fun by slaying them with his legendary axe. It’s super great.

Beat the three of them and you arrive next on a battlefield with everyone… Except Roy for some reason. Guess he just gets the shaft here.

Or technically, I suppose it makes sense due to the exchange between Hector and Eliwood.

See, Hector sees his daughter Lilina going around with a gift while spending time with Roy and believes the two are off to get hitched.

He’s not so happy about that…

But Lyn quickly derails the argument.

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And fight you do.

When you defeat all of the holiday heroes, they lament their loss as usual. However, things take a different route when Lilina comes out and gives the gift she’s been carrying around to her father.

Obviously he feels bad knowing that the symbol of what he thought was his daughter growing up and moving away from him was actually her way of getting closer with him.

He also mentions the wonky continuity of Fire Emblem Heroes by talking about how he’s dead in her canon universe and they shouldn’t be together…

But hey.

Video game logic.

Once the heroes move on, Sharena decides to hand out presents to everyone, with her speech to the Summoner calling back to her idea of wanting to reveal her true feelings by suggesting once more that she had a romantic interest in him.

It’s a sweet ending to a sweet diversion in what has become a rather dark story progression.

Even if I don’t have a huge attraction to the holiday heroes, at least I feel nice having gone through the story these developers plotted out.

Now if only I could summon one of these fools so I would feel better about them.


Upcoming Events

You’ve all made it quite far into my little gauntlet of over-embellished written nightmares here, so for this portion I’m going to take it easy on you.

Because I appreciate and love you.img_7248

So many events, so little time.

Most notably, we’ve got another Tempest Trial on the way (with Valentine’s Day Eliwood as the reward, like I said before) and six summoning banners coming out in the next month.

It’ll be a grind to keep up with it all, but I’m as ready for the challenge as ever.


Golly gosh am I tired after all this writing. Wasn’t expecting to stay up so late to do it, but I guess the writing bug really hit me tonight.

I know I basically just said it in the short section above, but I wanted to thank anyone who came this far again for being so willing to put up with my late night rambling text bullshit.

Seriously, this was a massive undertaking that probably had no right to be such a massive undertaking. Could’ve just split it into multiple posts. If I was smart, I probably would have.

But that said, there’s a ton of things to reflect on that I talked about leading up to this. So let me know, what do you think of the 2.2.0 update? Or the new Valentine’s Day summoning focus? Or all the upcoming events?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

But even if not, I hope you all enjoy your weekends. I’ve got a bunch of work to do throughout, but it’s going to be great to rest a little too after this long, arduous week.

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Happy birthday, Fire Emblem Heroes

Happy birthday, Fire Emblem Heroes

I’m admittedly a day late and a dollar short with this one, considering Heroes came out on February 2, 2017… But I wanted to put out my Comm 436 post first before the week was out, so I figured this would still be relevant as long as the anniversary celebration is still ongoing.

That being said, Fire Emblem Heroes is a year old this weekend! I still distinctly remember the day I started playing, going through the tutorial as I rode down an elevator in College Park while thinking over what I would say for a review. I also remember sitting out in front of the room where my honors history class was held in the basement of the education building, waiting for class to start as I actually wrote the thing.

Though there are a number of things I might not still mesh with from my original examination of the game, I still think it’s worth a read as a in-depth look at the basics for beginners.

It’s a little hard to believe we’re now a full rotation around the sun since then, and frankly I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised that I’m still as hooked on the mobile title that sparked my interest in mobile titles as I was that first day.

Hell, just last night I finally got my very first completely merged unit.

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Good old Cecilia. She and Reinhardt still make a wonderful team.

I don’t plan to go too in-depth with this, it’s mostly just a small congratulations to the game for making it where it is today while still going strong.

Though while I’m here, I also figured I would go over the stuff Intelligent Systems are doing for the anniversary, since there’s a nice amount going on.

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Okay, so I’m probably not going to show off what’s happening so much as I’m just going to show off what they said, given that I probably couldn’t sum it up any better than this.

The great thing about this little anniversary celebration is how the developers know to give us exactly what we want: Orbs.

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50 free orbs right off the bat.

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Daily missions that are going to keep us coming back for a while and give us an extra 50 orbs in the long run.

Add to that a daily log-in bonus and some more Tempest Trial grinding and hoo boy is there a lot to be excited about. Orbs go away in this game pretty fast, after all.

Especially when there are multiple big, special summoning events happening at once.

Yeah… That’s a hell of a cash grab if I’ve ever seen one. Especially considering there seems to be another special banner coming around for Valentine’s Day.

Luckily, I already have all the heroes from the Hero Fest this time around and I got a special unit from the Legendary Banner.

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She’s no Ike, but she is a nice addition to my horde.

I’m not planning on spending any more orbs on these, so hopefully whatever comes down the pipeline is worth the wait.

Speaking of down the pipeline, it’s also probably worth mentioning the big future special hero events that have been happening.

For instance, the second Choose Your Legends event ended recently, and we got a… Well… Expected top choices list.

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Come on guys, I like these characters and all, but I was really banking on you all helping me get Neimi up on the list.

Feh…

Anyway, while I suppose I am looking forward to seeing a Brave Ephraim coming one day, there’s also a more novel event happening as we speak (if you read this the day it comes out, of course).

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Yeah, basically everyone gets a few votes on every hero that has been in the game thus far, and whichever unit wins will be given out for free.

That includes the special holiday heroes, legendary heroes and all the rest.

It’s a cool idea, and I’m pretty interested to see who comes out on top.

If you want to vote for your favorite, the site is here. May the best hero win.

That’s all I have to say for now, however, since I’ve got to go to bed in a hurry. Tomorrow morning (this morning when this is posted because time shenanigans) I’m going to be out in Fullerton helping to cover the homeless situation along the Santa Ana river. Ironically enough a topic I was also enmeshed in about a year ago for Bonnie’s Investigative Reporting class.

Anyway, that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, let me know: What are some of your favorite memories with Fire Emblem Heroes one year in?

Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how this game had become a cementing point that keeps a lot of my high school friend group talking and playing together consistently.

Tell me about some of your favorite things in the comments below! Here’s looking forward to more and more content down the line.

A Legendary Banner for a miniature Tempest Trial

A Legendary Banner for a miniature Tempest Trial

This likely won’t be a substantial post (he says hopefully before getting into the actual writing portion of things), but I felt enough happened in Fire Emblem Heroes today to warrant something before the inevitable one year anniversary celebration.

Coming soon.

First and foremost, there was a new Feh Channel released yesterday that updated everyone on new things coming around the bend.

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I unfortunately have not had the time to watch it. That’s a majority of reason why I’m expecting this to be short.

Basically, I didn’t have time because all of yesterday evening was spent helping to cover President Trump’s State of the Union address.

I was at the College Republicans club watch party, took my own photos, did a wee bit of live tweeting, got a bunch of interviews… It was a pretty nice experience overall.

Then there was some weird stuff going on that led to us not having an article on it quite yet for some reason? But uhh… That’s a story for another time. Namely a time when that article actually gets written and published. Which will hopefully be soon.

That said, if you’re interested in watching the Feh Channel check it out here. I’ll probably get more caught up on the subject matter later.

In the meantime, some of the updates elaborated on in the informational video have already begun to roll out.

My picture just above kind of spoils things, but not as obviously as the featured image for this post… So I’ll quit burying the lede.


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Ike has returned in a third form, this time as a Legendary Hero.

Seriously, anyone else remember when we were all wondering why Ike hadn’t shown up in game when he was clearly a title character all over the branding?

Good times.

Now a days there are three different versions of Ike: His normal appearance, a Brave variant and now a Legendary variant (which is incredibly reminiscent of his Smash Brothers counterpart, I might add).

He’s a pretty strong looking character too.

  • IkeVanguard Legend
    • Legendary Hero Ike comes equipped with some familiar skills and some not-so-familiar skills. His weapon, Ragnell, is the same as his normal variant and gives him distant attack counters. He also comes with a more advanced version of his regular special attack called Radiant Aether which allows him to slash an opponent’s defensive stats and regain 50 percent of the damage he deals as his own health. By itself that’s a pretty wild combination of things. Yet, he also comes with three more skills in the form of Warding Breath (granting him +4 resistance if attacked and increasing Special cooldown charge), Seal Attack and Defense (causing a -5 debuff to both those stats after combat with a unit) and Defense Tactic (granting all infantry and armored units in his 2 square vicinity +6 defense each turn). I have a Brave Ike in my collection but not a regular Ike, so I would definitely be happy to pull this guy.

One of these days I’m really going to have to play the Radiant titles so I understand why Ike was so popular better.

But until I do, I can live out the hype with this beefy looking unit right here.

Assuming I can summon him.

Which, spoiler alert, has not been going super well for me so far. But because there are also some other subsidiary units on his Legendary Banner that I would want (namely Summer Xander, Gunnthrá and Siegbert), I’m going to keep going at it.

In controlled bursts. Not looking to go too crazy when there’s presumably Valentine’s Day units coming up soon. Even if there are only four days on this banner.

Though with the exceptional grace of a beautiful transition, there is an extra source of orbs in our midst as well.


Another miniature Tempest Trials has arrived, not too long after our last New Years-themed event. A long time ago I complained about burnout associated with these suckers, but since I’ve discovered a grinding method that works for me I’m far more welcoming of it.

Even if that trial I complained about was themed after Ike’s games, ironically enough.

Maybe this is what it means to have a full developmental arc?

Who knows. After all, all of that is beside the point because really who can complain about extra orbs, medals and a new character? Especially when that new character is Marisa:

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You’re no Neimi, but you’ll do. Welcome to the team.

Part of my burnout treatment has been not talking about these Tempest Trial runs like I used to, but this one is special enough that I felt it would be worth delving into the plot a little bit further.

As always, it begins with Lucina (or Marth still, despite the fact that it seems like everyone knows something is fishy behind her mask) arriving at a new place to take on yet another outcropping of the threatening Tempest. This time with Heroes-specific units to greet her:

Fjorm seems interested in helping out, but as I mentioned is suspicious of the mask. It makes Lucina untrustworthy apparently.

I do understand that to an extent… But let’s be real, the mask is super sweet and I would trust anyone wearing it.



Editor’s Note: Don’t try to coerce me into things wearing Lucina’s butterfly mask.

Just figured I’d put that out there.



Fjorm has just one idea to prove that Lucina is a trustworthy compatriot:

But then, just as Fjorm is about to take the legendary Falchion…

WHOA!

Plot twist.

Fjorm wasn’t Fjorm all along! She was Loki in disguise once again.

From there she just says she’ll wait for you to arrive at the deepest part of the Tempest to fight her, but there was honestly just something about this plot twist I really enjoyed.

I don’t know, I guess it just worked well in reference to character traits Intelligent Systems has established thus far. You know me, I’m a fan of strong characterization.

It continues on too, considering Loki is actually Fjorm in the final battle of the Tempest Trial run.

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That about covers everything I have to say regarding this Fire Emblem Heroes update.

Like I said earlier, there should be more to come in the near future when we get to the anniversary of the game’s release. That’ll be dope for anyone who pines during the downtime without Fire Emblem posts.

For anyone who doesn’t pine for Fire Emblem posts… Well… Like I said, something about the State of the Union should be coming soon. I also have a few other plans in the next couple days I’m planning on writing about, so overall there should just be some nice activity going on around here.

So, until next time, what do you think about Legendary Ike? Besides him, who else would you want to get out of the new summoning banner?

Let me know in the comments down below!

Sacred Stones in Fire Emblem Heroes return, with Great Flames ready to burn

Sacred Stones in Fire Emblem Heroes return, with Great Flames ready to burn

About a week ago, we got a new calendar showcasing the many events that were coming down the pipeline in Fire Emblem Heroes for the first few months of the year.

By many events, I do mean many events.

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Wow. Talk about a busy lineup, right?

Through the sizable web of things happening I, alongside many other fans of the Fire Emblem series, noticed something interesting. The chief antagonist of my favorite Fire Emblem game, the Sacred Stones, was coming up as a Grand Hero Battle. Then, when he cleared off, Valder would be returning.

Two Sacred Stones units in a row? Well that’s odd. Could it possibly be a coincidence given that a new summoning focus was set to begin just before they arrived?

As it turns out, it was not a coincidence. This new banner is indeed Sacred Stones-themed like everyone was hoping.

Let me tell you, I was excited about the sheer possibility of a banner from this game as soon as the calendar was hot on the presses. Every time something with Sacred Stones comes up, my heart starts firing at all cylinders.

Was my excitement met with an ample return from Intelligent Systems?

Am I ready as ever to immerse myself in the world of the Sacred Stones?

Would I be asking this many rhetorical questions if I didn’t have a subverting comment waiting in the wings?

Read on to find out.


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To make a long cliffhanger short, I am indeed pretty excited about these units! Like I said already, it’s hard for me not to be excited when this game comes out of the woodwork.

However, there is one blemish on this otherwise beautiful sight that leaves me somewhat embittered about the whole thing.

But I’ll get to that. For now, let’s start examining what our new summon-able friends bring to the table.

  • MyrrhGreat Dragon
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    • Peaking a little early here, Intelligent Systems? On top of being an obvious fan favorite character, Myrrh also has arguably the most interesting and powerful build in this new bunch. She’s a rarity, being not only our second green dragon unit in the game, but also a green dragon unit with a flying movement-type distinction. You can probably build some crazy interesting half-dragon/half-flying team combinations with her on your side. It helps that she looks as powerful as she does unique, boasting a skill to Hone other manakete units, the attack-heavy Fury and Bonfire special attack and a special breath weapon that makes her hit a weaker defensive stat against ranged units. A pretty sweet spread all-and-all.
  • L’ArachelPrincess of Light
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    • Yet another fan favorite character who seems to be bringing her wonderful holier-than-thou divine justice, but a strange name pronunciation. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever thought to say “Lara shell,” but to be fair the game developers also had a different pronunciation for Innes so I guess that trait runs strong in Sacred Stones. L’Arachel also has a bit of a strange skill spread compared to the undoubtedly powerful Myrrh. Rather than being a staff-wielding troubadour, as most likely remember her, she’s much more akin to her valkyrie advancement in that she uses the sacred light weapon Ivaldi (now a blue tome). Though it doesn’t have great base power, she gains bonuses in attack and speed when fighting a full health unit. An interesting add-on admittedly. However, from there she carries the sub-par special attack Glowing Light and bulk-centric Renewal (which may or may not be important depending on her stat spread), as well as the brand new Resistance Tactic that grants a big boost to infantry and armored units. There’s possibly some synergy here, we’ll have to see.
  • EirikaAnamnesis Lady
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    • Anamnesis: Noun. The recollection or remembrance of the past. I’ll admit, this is a very clever title for Eirika given her overwhelming insistence on remembering all the good times between her, Ephraim and Lyon. If I had to guess before jumping into the story missions, this theme will play into them appearing together and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, it also brings me to remember the fact that we already got Eirika as a unit. A long, long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool when we get new versions of old units through Brave Heroes and holiday-themed events, and I’ve been an advocate for Eirika on horseback like her final form in the original game for some time… But when a second version of a unit shows up like this in a main summoning focus, it just feels like a slot was taken that could have been filled by another. Especially since her skill spread seems like the most underwhelming of the three heroes here despite her boasting five skills. Plus, what’s with her having the dark tome Gleipnir? She can never learn how to use magic in the Sacred Stones, it just seems… Nonsensical. Unless there’s a story reason that I haven’t gotten to yet, but I guess we’ll see.

I don’t really know what it is about Eirika that bugs me so much. Her appearance here is what makes me feel rather bitter about this whole banner despite the fact that it’s based on my favorite game in the series and has two wonderful units in it. Seriously, Myrrh and L’Arachel are great and I’m going to be trying to get both, but why did we get a weird reprint of Eirika now?

It really feels like it would have made more sense to release a horseback Eirika as a Brave hero down the line, for me at least.

Plus that would have saved room for someone like Neimi.

I mean seriously Intelligent Systems, how much more do I have to beg? I appreciate Myrrh and L’Arachel, and I know both Lyon and Marisa are coming soon too from other events… But I just want my favorite character in the game already.

I’ll keep voting in the new Choose Your Legends event until I get her.

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If nothing else, I suppose it’s a positive that she’s not in the game because I don’t feel as bad voting for her? But not really, because I would have voted for her anyway.

I will seriously throw my Brave Lyn away in a heartbeat if we got a horseback archer Neimi at some point.

That’s about enough empty, ridiculous bitching about a gotcha game for one day, though. Thanks to the Radiant Dawn banner screwing me over and scaring me away at the same time as a Tempest Trial, I’m starting off this Sacred Stones banner with 94 orbs, so I’m feeling lucky about nabbing that Myrrh.

Wait, what was that? I wrote this whole section before the update even happened you say?

Well… You’re not wrong.

Luckily, now present day Jason can report some good news on the tail end of this somewhat negative build-up:

I GOT DAT MYRRH BABY, YEAH!!! WOO!!

Also she’s apparently sassy as FUCK here. It’s absolutely incredible, and I’m very happy and lucky considering this happened so easily.

It only took 30 orbs to nab her too! So I still have about 60 orbs – without having done all of the new missions and all – to spend either on future special banners or to come back and try my hands at L’Arachel.

It’s a bit of a tough choice since I love Sacred Stones, but also I love having special holiday variant heroes.

Just don’t read too much into that in comparison to my vague disdain toward a new version of Eirika appearing.

On that note, the question remains regarding whether or not my predictions about a reminiscent Eirika/Lyon interactions were valid, which strikes me as a perfect segue into story.


While I am a bit surprised to see two main story chapters show up in such a short period of time, I can’t say I’m opposed to it. Especially considering this chapter goes into a really deep amount of interesting character development.

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The story picks up a little while after the last series of missions ends off, with our heroes having just finished fixing up the town ravaged by Surtr’s army.

Before they head off, however, we get to see a much deeper look into Alfonse’s daddy issues.

It actually gets a bit heavy, even if things aren’t very thoroughly explained in my opinion.

Alfonse talks about how his father is leading an army to protect the land of Askr, yet he doesn’t agree with Alfonse being a part of the Order of Heroes… Which for all intents and purposes is essentially an army protecting the land of Askr.

Sure, the Order led by a greedy general, and I guess they’re fairly ‘hands on’ as he says, but otherwise I don’t necessarily see the distinction off-hand.

Plus, the game leaves off other potentially relevant details, like why Alfonse seems to be ostracized but Sharena, his sister, isn’t. Maybe that’s just her hiding it away because she’s got a happy-go-lucky kind of defense mechanism, but if that’s true we don’t get too much of an indication to that effect either.

Am I thinking too much into this? Maybe. But I’ve got no qualms talking about my love of the lore in this game. Seeing character development is always great, and Alfonse gets some powerful stuff here.

Of course right after that ends they’re interrupted by Sharena bringing him colored hay he asked for… Which I didn’t exactly know was a thing?

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Remember this, later it’s going to blow your mind.

Once you get through the first hefty story dump with a strange conclusion, the next couple of missions go relatively quietly.

Most of the summoning focus characters do get brief introductions, but that’s about all.

For some reason, Myrrh doesn’t get any sort of introduction. Why do you guys have to short my gal, Intelligent Systems? It’s not like she’s the Great Dragon of legend or anything.

Also I guess that does bring up another point I’d like to address. It feels like the Sacred Stones heroes got a bit shafted here.

In the context of the universe, the only reason game-specific heroes are still appearing is because Princess Veronica has teamed up with Surtr and is providing contracted mercenaries, essentially. From that angle, I understand why they don’t necessarily have a huge amount of time given in the main storyline compared to more independent, specifically focused Paralogues… But still.

The music playing under everything is from the Sacred Stones, but the maps aren’t. Which is unfortunate because seeing the miniature representations of original game maps is still one of my favorite things about playing Fire Emblem Heroes.

It’s a shame, though I can let it slide considering main story progression is put on the forefront here.

That progression has the Order of Heroes eventually making it to the gateway into Fjorm’s homeland, which is sealed by a massive magical MacGuffin.

Arriving at that gateway has the story kick up to 11 once again. After all, it takes time for Fjorm to open up the gate, and you know what holding a position for a long time entails:

Surtr arrives to ambush the Order, which does lead to one of my favorite aesthetic effects in the history of Fire Emblem Heroes thus far.

What a cool duality between invading and defending. I love that sort of thing, revisiting an old area with a new coat of paint. It’s just rad game design!

But you know what else is rad?

How cool of a villain Surtr is.

I won’t even qualify it that much, just look at how savage and unequivocally insane the guy is.

It’s just amazing seeing such a gruesome person in a mobile game spin-off of a somewhat kid friendly Nintendo franchise. I’ve come to really love a lot of the characters from the Fire nation, and this kind of unchecked intensity is one of the reasons why.

Though I do think it’s hilarious that you get a long, intense monologue from Surtr, only for him to send his two lackies in first and arrive after turn 3.

Especially since he’s invincible. So he’s just giving you the opportunity to end the fight before he can help.

Good guy Surtr?

Okay definitely not. But when you beat this mission, the story goes wildly off the rails once again.

After Fjorm opens the gateway to allow your heroes to escape, they have to come to terms with making the decision to run and fight another day even if that means Surtr destroys a nearby village.

Alfonse leads the charge to run away, which feels uncharacteristic after a whole mission set surrounding his citizen-first mentality.

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Once they escape, however, the story cuts back to focus more on Surtr’s forces.

Then, in the surprise of the century, Xander reveals that he’s still relevant to the main plot.

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Yeah, remember when Xander was important as the General of Veronica’s army? Well apparently he hasn’t disappeared.

Honestly it’s getting to a point where I wouldn’t argue with people shipping Veronica and Xander together. Clearly he’s sticking with her for the long run, after all.

Plus there are people who are into older men like that. I don’t judge.

Anyway… That aside, Veronica and Surtr start arguing over whether he should destroy the town, since Veronica is keen on having them be part of the Emblian empire once Askr is destroyed.

Cleverly enough a callback to the last Sacred Stones missions where Seth asked her to think more about her people.

Before they can fight, Loki stops the group by letting them know the town is empty.

Colored hay ex machina? Or nice use of chekhov’s gun? I’ll let you decide.

After Surtr metaphorically cools his jets and agrees to keep Veronica around longer, he splits his forces up, setting things in motion for the next big mission.

What a long, frankly fascinating journey just this one mission series is. The character development is interesting, the writing is clever and everything moves at a good pace.

Even if the Sacred Stones heroes feel a little left behind, I can’t argue with what we got.

Oh, and no Lyon yet in case you hadn’t noticed. I know he’s coming tomorrow, but it does seem like a waste not to have him appear with Eirika here in this set somewhere.

Especially since they alluded to it all over the place!

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As I’m sure you can tell, this banner has been a bit divisive for me.

On the one hand, it’s Sacred Stones-themed, so I’m predisposed to like it. Especially since Myrrh and L’Arachel are in it. Plus, the story they have going that includes these heroes is easily the best we’ve seen out of this game yet in my opinion.

I even got Myrrh with very minimal sacrifices. That’s awesome!

But at the same time, Eirika reappearing still bugs me wildly. Especially considering they really don’t do anything with her! I’m more than willing to admit that there’s probably just some personal bias here.

I love Eirika and the fact that they included a horseback version of her, but it was so wildly disappointing seeing her taking up a slot in this summoning focus, and that just really hit me hard. I’m willing to bet it’s in part because I’ve had a rough first week of school this semester and am taking even slight blemishes in overall great developments as over-embellished issues.

That said, as much as I want to complain about it, everything outside of Eirika here really lines up perfectly and would probably be my favorite update in some time otherwise.

So I’m going to stop looking at the negatives and take everything for what it really is: Some damn well done story and gameplay.

With a little bit of luck in summoning to boot.

I guess with all that said, all I really have to add is… Here’s looking forward to Lyon being good, hopefully.

How do you feel about this new summoning focus, or the story it accompanies?

If you could have any other hero from Sacred Stones beside Eirika a second time, who would you want to see?

Let me know in the comments below, and until next time. I’m off to get some rest so I can cover an Academic Senate meeting in the morning.

The Radiant Fire Emblem Heroes 2.1.0 Update

The Radiant Fire Emblem Heroes 2.1.0 Update

Welcome to your multi-faceted Fire Emblem Heroes post for the week.

Yesterday, Heroes got a semi-large scale update  that implemented some new features. Today, brand new heroes from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn were added into the game.

So let’s not mess around friends, there’s plenty to cover and a limited amount of moonlight to write about it, but I’m just as excited to get into it all the same.


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This little list in the notifications page kind of covers everything succinctly, but in trademarked Jason Rochlin fashion I’m going to jump into each point individually, likely over-embellishing their descriptions as I discuss my thoughts.

Hero Merit limit increase

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Is my unit bias showing yet?

For those of you who don’t know about Hero Merit, one of the many underlying systems in Fire Emblem Heroes that runs as you use your units to battle others is the accumulation of Hero Merit. This Merit doesn’t necessarily affect the heroes themselves in any way, but it’s highly beneficial for players to work toward maxing it out all the same.

When a specific unit reaches an interval of 500 Hero Merit, the player can receive 500 Hero Feathers. With the new increased capacity, players can earn 4,000 Hero Feathers with each character.

I’ve become more of a fan of Hero Feathers as of late, as they are what allow you to unlock an individual unit’s potential. In other words it allows you to grow a unit from a three star rarity to a four star rarity or a four star rarity to a five star rarity.

Now that I know the value of merging multiple five star units together to increase their power, I have a much more positive outlook on these collectibles – and a much higher need of them considering it takes 20,000 Hero Feathers to buff one unit to a five star.

Ouch.

Pre-battle map checking

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Just tap the blue icon for a handy dandy strategizing bonus!

This kind of system was implemented in other game modes, especially those where you have to fight multiple maps in a row like Squad Assault, but now you can use it any time for just about any map you can access.

As far as what it does… Well, it should be fairly self-explanatory when I say “pre-battle map checking.” Want to see what your units will be up against in the next fight? Check the map ahead of time, take a look at the opponent units and what skills they have to come in better prepared.

That’s really about that. It’s a simply but highly useful change.

More Sacred Seals & Weapon Refining

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For context, the additional Sacred Seals are Brash Assault, Savage Blow, Hone Speed, Close Defense, Guidance and Attack Smoke.

To be completely honest I can’t do this particular change any more justice than the screenshot above does.

Two new legendary weapons can be refined, though the only one that really matters to me is Sanaki’s special red tome, as she’s a five star unit I have and use fairly often.

Personally I hope this change is an indication that more upgrades will be coming in the near future, since there are plenty of other units that have legendary weapons that I would love to buff.

Cough cough Eirika cough

The Sacred Seals that were added to the construction option also aren’t very important to me personally. They’re all Seals that were available in the past as part of Tempest Trials rewards, so I already had all of them leading up to this addition.

Thus, I can’t actually build any of them. I already have them.

Oh well, at least other newer players now have access to some cool additional skills.

New terrain type: Trenches

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It’s all quiet on the Western Front, Xander.

While the screenshot above once again covers all of the information I currently have about this new terrain type, I’m quite interested in seeing how trenches affect the game going forward.

From the description alone, it just seems like trenches are being added as a check to cavalry units. Instead of their usual three space movement range, heroes on horseback can only go one space when moving across trenches. It’s a small debuff if the maps where they’re featured don’t have an excessive amount, but it is interesting to note that Intelligent Systems is trying to hit one of the most prevalent unit types in competitive play.

Of course we don’t know whether the trenches have extra utility because they aren’t featured in any of the new story maps… But that’s a different story. For now it just seems like these things might be more of an aesthetic implementation than a practical one.

Beyond those major points, the other changes are small or tie into bug fixes specifically. The only one I can recall having an impact on me is the way they’ve made it so units without weapons aren’t added to the pool of potential allies when playing in a Voting Gauntlet.

That’s cool, but also I never ran into the problem personally so I guess I never well.

With all that said, let’s move into the next leg of this marathon. Everyone’s favorite: A new summoning focus banner.


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Three heroes from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have arrived in Heroes, and their appearance also continues on the legacy of Radiant game focuses apparently being Intelligent System’s choice to advance the game’s overarching plot.

But of course, we can’t get into silly things like plot without discussing the merits of our new potential allies.

  • MicaiahPriestess of Dawn
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    • Micaiah is interesting in that she is apparently a fan favorite unit who also happens to look quite overpowered. As an added note, she actually has five skills but I could only get four to line up for a picture so know that she also has Drive Attack as her C skill. This girl’s weapon is kind of crazy and all over the place, being a blue tome that’s good against horses and armored units while also combining the effects of three other really good weapons from the past. Her resistance to damage on account of that weapon is accentuated by her Distant Defense and Guard, yet she can also buff allies with Drive Attack and give them health through Sacrifice. In a way, she’s a really well-rounded unit, and I’m assuming her stats reflect the same thing.
  • SotheZephyr
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    • Here’s a dagger unit that finally seems worth his weight (sorry Neko Sakura, your cute Halloween cat ears are still in my dreams, but not in a creepy way). Sothe appears to be any team’s best friend with a weapon that debuffs every enemy stat within a certain range while also buffing every stat for allies in a certain range. Plus, he also Spurs Attack and Speed during combat. However, without proper protection this kind of benefit appears temporary as his other skills suggest he’s quite the glass canon. An interesting unit indeed, and one that seems like he would mesh well with a blade tome user.
  • ZelgiusJet-Black General
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    • So in case it wasn’t obvious, Zelgius is the Black Knight without his helmet on — the Black Knight being a unit who was a prize some time ago in a Tempest Trial, except now he’s apparently stronger stat-wise from what I’ve been told. Also there’s apparently some controversy over the fact that his appearance in this form spoils Radiant Dawn plot points? But to be completely honest a lot of characters spoil plot points in their games so I’m not sure what the problem is. I don’t think I have a lot to say about this guy’s skills. He has the same weapon/special attack as his reskin, but now he gains attack when attacked, can warp around like crazy and converts opponent buffs into penalties. Definitely sounds like a strong guy… But I just can’t get over how much his face isn’t what I expected to see without the mask.

Despite the fact that he got the least amount of writing up above, I think Sothe is actually the character on this banner that I want the most.

Like I said before he looks like a match made in heaven for a blade tome user, and as a result would make a perfect balance on my infantry team alongside Nino and my other stat buffing unit Eirika.

Even though I want Sothe a lot (much to the teasing pleasure of my friend Jonathan who managed to summon the guy almost immediately), the other two wouldn’t be so bad either. Micaiah especially. I’d be very down to join the scarf squad with her.

Luckily, I managed to enter this banner with an abundance of orbs thanks to the recent Tempest Trials and my early summon of flying New Year Azura.

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Yeah that’s right, 95. Well earned if I do say so myself, and there’s more waiting in the sidelines from a new Squad Assault and Chain Challenges.

After blowing through about 30 of those orbs, however… I more or less learned my lesson to be careful where I put my money.

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Don’t get me wrong, five stars are never a bad thing necessarily… But as much as I love Clair from Echoes, she’s just not a fantastic unit in Heroes.

Especially compared to Cordelia, who’s served me loyally since the very beginning.

As I keep cautious with my orb horde, I think that makes it a good time to jump over to the story accompanying these three new heroes.


I kind of spoiled this earlier, but the Radiant Dawn banner opens itself up in a continuation of the Book II storyline.

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Guided by a dream starts with… Well, a dream.

Gunnthrá appears once again, actually making herself relevant in the story considering Intelligent Systems forgot to give her any sort of meaningful moments when she was a Legendary Hero summon possibility toward the end of December.

Speaking of… Don’t get me started on how much I want to throw my phone at the irony of Gunnthrá suggesting we should meet after I got screwed out of summoning her to meet in person already.

Talk about a hell of a tease.

Anyway, her dream guidance is that the Order of Heroes should come to the ice kingdom to meet with her so everyone can combine forces to fight the evil fire king.

The story for this leg of Book II is fairly front loaded actually, as you immediately jump to the Order discussing their war plans in the face of a new powerful enemy. Namely, Anna mentions that the king of Askr is off leading some troops into battle.

The fiery King Surtr is also given more characterization suggesting that he’s nuts and bloodthirsty, a theme we will return to later.

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When Fjorm hears that you met her sister in a dream, she pretty much immediately suggests you follow her direction and head to their homeland for backup.

Once that is established, the fighting begins.

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The maps themselves for this story mission are decent, though it seems odd to me that they would go with Askrian terrain rather than copying maps from Radiant Dawn, considering this is that game’s unit’s time in the spotlight.

In hindsight that is a complaint I could have aired when the Children of Fate were new… But then again it does all make sense in light of the fact that Book II is less a series of connected miniature adventures than Book I in place of a more serialized story.

That said, there isn’t a lot of serialized story across the majority of the ice-covered maps, Chapter 3-1 through Chapter 3-4. The little bits of plot are pretty much just introductions for the Radiant Dawn characters you fight.

Don’t mind Oliver, by the way. He’s uhh… He’s a special looking, apparently meme-worthy guy who’s going to show up in a Grand Hero Battle soon.

Things start to develop when you arrive at the final map and come face-to-face with a new challenge.

The source of those flames are Laevatein, my favorite of the lot, showing what seems to suggest the beginning of a pattern where each of the fiery nation’s main units are going to headline each chapter from here on.

Her gimmick seems to be an almost robotic adherence to the rules set in place by her father and sister, which is an interesting touch I wasn’t quite expecting.

Gives her an appeal similar to Team Magma Admin Courtney from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Once you beat her, she retreats and the Order decides to take a break from their journey to help restore the burned village. Though this move makes sense, it’s almost comically similar to them straight up saying “here’s the commercial break before our next episode.”

Yet… The story doesn’t end quite yet.

For some reason tired of their alliance, Veronica decides to leave having assisted the fire nation with her contracted units.

That doesn’t sit well with the king.

Yeah… Remember when I said this guy is a crazy, sadistic nut job?

Case an point: Crazy grin while imagining a little girl burning to death.

Honestly for as over-the-top as this comes across, I do admittedly appreciate the way they made a villain who’s undeniably awful for everyone to stand up again.

I’m just hoping Veronica switches sides and we get the chance to use her against this ultimate foe. That would be pretty awesome.


Boy howdy, this really was a hell of a marathon wasn’t it? I love it when there are a lot of things to cover, but it is a bit exhausting when everything takes this long.

I guess if nothing else I can appreciate it as a little something fun before I dive back into killing myself with work that I for some reason thought would be a good way to get back into the swing of things.

So, how about I take a break from talking your ear off and once more offer the chance for a larger discussion.

How do you feel about the updates that came with version 2.1.0?

Out of the Radiant Dawn heroes added, which is your favorite?

What do you think of the way Book II is developing? Personally, I happen to think the way they’ve gone with it is pretty intriguing.

Is the best part of this update the new game loading screen that I used as the featured image for this post?

Let me know your thoughts somewhere on the internet, and until next time… I’ll be resisting the urge not to make myself broke again.

Wish me luck.

New Year, New Heroes

New Year, New Heroes

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

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

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

Oops.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

But I digress. What exactly is the story here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even if it does get kind of weird.

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

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

I’m definitely Takumi in this scenario.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Saying Sayonara to 2017

Saying Sayonara to 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun with your random chance to summon.

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

So, is she worth the risk?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A sparkling new unit, but unfortunately a duplicate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Actually, it is somewhat of a story for today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working smarter, not harder and all that jazz.

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

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

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

That, after all, is the true question.

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

Early-onset Christmas Cheer and Holiday Heroes

Early-onset Christmas Cheer and Holiday Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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