Could I throw any more pomp and circumstance into a single blog post title for something that probably doesn’t deserve it?
Welcome to my double new events analysis! I’ve been a bit distracted by the end of the semester so I didn’t have the chance to talk about the Grand Conquests event while it was happening over the last week or so. However, with a new version of the Tempest Trials here today, I figured I could lump them together and get my compulsive fill out-of-the-way in one fell swoop.
That said I’m going to start with the “brand new” Tempest Trials+, that way anyone interested in just the newest news can move on with their life soon after that if they desire.
Now some of you may be wondering why I put “brand new” in quotes when referring to this new event in the paragraph just above this.
Well… To put it bluntly…
There’s really nothing that’s especially “new” about these updated Tempest Trials. There are certainly some quality improvements to the overall formula that I like, but I’m not sure it’s new enough to warrant very deep examination.
Thracia 776 continues its current run of popularity in Heroes by taking our latest Tempest Trials slot. But what exactly is different about this updated formula compared to previous entries?
To put it simply, there are three big changes: The time frame of the event has shrunk, the reward tiers have changed and bonus allies have become more useful overall.
Honestly these two screenshots pretty much sum up everything rather succinctly, but I’ll spell it out a little just in case there are some people reading this who are new around here and haven’t seen a Tempest Trials post since I stopped writing them
- Rather than lasting a full two weeks, the Tempest Trials+ sets only last 10 days.
- Whereas main Tempest Trials installments had rewards up to 100,000 points, the Tempest Trials+ only have rewards up to 50,000 points like mini Trials.
- Instead of there being two tiers of bonus allies, one offering an extra 40 percent to the player’s score at the end of a round and one only offering 20 percent, now all eight of the bonus allies offer 40 percent.
I personally have mixed feelings about these changes.
More bonus allies being useful is a great thing for everyone, as it can be hard to pull the brand new units that originally served as the 40 percent vanguard, but now older units and the Tempest reward unit are applicable.
However, making the time frame of the event shorter and shrinking the rewards to gain is potentially detrimental. The way I personally approach Tempest Trials is grinding them out idly with auto play during my drives to-and-from Cal State Fullerton. That system has allowed me to easily work out 100,000 points within two weeks and thus I’ve been able to enjoy the rewards they offer.
I understand that not everybody can commit to working out that much time the same way I do, but I think the loss of extra rewards is a bummer. Though the fact that the higher level runs only cost 15 stamina now is pretty great.
Hopefully shorter Trials means more frequent Trials to make up for the exchange of rewards. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.
With that said, I mentioned up above that I haven’t posted a Tempest Trials blog post in some time. The reason for that change was because Trials showed up relatively frequently without any serious changes between each. Granted, there was “development” in the overall story of Masked Lucina going around helping everyone, but not enough development to warrant talking about it.
For the most part everything boiled down to “show up at a new place, ask the new characters for help, go through trials and win.” Rinse and repeat.
Unfortunately, the Thracia 776 Trials here are no different. But because I happen to be talking about it, I figured why not go over the small stuff I always used to dive into. Just like old times
In terms of plot… Well, this is about it.
Game-referential exposition building up Reinhardt as the big bad this time around.
I won’t say I’m complaining as I haven’t personally played Thracia 776, so the little history lesson does what it needs to by setting up the conflict between Leif and Reinhardt.
Plus it offers Lucina the opportunity to be a history geek, which is my absolute favorite headcanon for her.
But there isn’t much to say beyond that.
That extends to the end-game battle against Reinhardt as well. While Leif sets up the fact that their ultimate battle in the original title took place on the river that has been recreated, I don’t have any sort of connection with it beyond that.
It’s a nice map though. I’ll give the developers that much, they always do a great job recreating iconic scenes on these small-scale builds.
Now rewards are a somewhat more interesting discussion for me this time around. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken the time to invest into all of my five-star units. After all, one can only rely on the slowly power creep susceptible horse emblem gods for so long.
I’ve had a ton of the powerful units just sitting in storage for some time now, so I made it my mission to give them inherited skills and sacred seals that way I can throw my weight around more with blessings and rival domain maps.
As a result, sacred seals have become way more important for me. That coincides perfectly with a Tempest Trials that offers really great seals!
Tempest Trials+: Thunder’s Fist Sacred Seals
- Seal Speed — Inflicts a speed debuff on foes after battling with them
- For a unit that wants to strike twice in a turn, lowering the opponent’s speed is fairly invaluable. Seal skills build up a good chunk of stat debuffs, so this should be useful.
- Fortress Defense — Grants up to +5 defense in exchange for -3 attack
- I didn’t enjoy the fortress skills too much until I began experimenting with units and found out how great a huge defensive buff can be on a unit with already sky-high attack. Thanks to Brave Lucina and Innes for teaching me such a valuable lesson.
- Drive Attack — All allies within two spaces of the unit receive up to +3 attack during combat
- Drive skills are another thing I’ve discovered the great power of during my time experimenting. Many of my dancing units now feature two versions of drive where they can to ensure a unit that’s nearby has an extra boost after being brought back to attention for another move. Looking forward to getting this one especially.
Luckily I’m excited for these seals, because I’m not super invigorated when I think about the unit that was added as a Trial reward:
Based on conversations I’ve read in-game, it seems like Finn fits the archetype of ‘early game broken great knight’ that Fire Emblem games are famous for. However, just on quick research he seems much more interesting as a character who bridges the 15 year time gap between the beginning and end campaigns of Geneaology of the Holy War.
Also he’s Nanna’s father. Which I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.
Despite having an interesting character back story, I’m not sure I’m that excited for another lance-wielding cavalier as a reward. God knows Clive just disappeared into the aether after the Tempest Trials he came out in.
With that, however, everything I have to say about Tempest Trials+ is said and done. I’m not sure I would consider it too much of a plus just yet, but I suppose we’ll see if it becomes a better deal in the long run.
Obviously I missed the boat on talking about this new game mode. I mentioned it when the event was teased back during the last major game update, but then life got busy.
Fun fact, I actually took most of the pictures you’ll be seeing on this post when I was at Universal Studios with my family last week. I meant to write this closer to then… But what can I say.
But enough excuses, what exactly are Grand Conquests?
Well to put it simply, “Three armies vie for territory.” It’s hard to dumb it down more than that.
I’m not one to dumb things down however, so what are Grand Conquests in-depth?
If you’ve ever played the strategy board game Risk or the Galactic Conquest mode of Star Wars Battlefront II (the original, not the well hated new version) then you already have a head start on understanding Grand Conquests.
When the event was first kicking off, players were able to register for entry into the game two or three days in advance. Everyone who registered got randomly put into one of three teams controlled by each of the main members of the Order of Heroes: Alfonse, Sharena and Anna.
Each army was initially allocated 10 of the 30 plots of land on the map. The first ‘game’ had 22 rounds as you can see above, and though I don’t believe I paid much attention to how much time each round lasted, once it ended the amount of land an army controlled shifted.
That shifting was based on the amount of points and control a team put into each area, as you can see on the chart in the above right-hand photo. Once the first ‘game’ ended, two more followed that lasted just as long, and much like the Voting Gauntlet there were additional rewards players could earn in each cycle.
I think the change that came between each game was my least favorite part of the event. Players did not always stick with the same team during the transition. For example, I played for team Alfonse during the first two games only to suddenly find myself on team Anna for game three.
While I understand that idea probably came out of necessity to ensure there was balance in the player base — can’t have one team dominate every single game after all — I feel the idea took something away from the connection we could have had to the teams.
It would have been much more fun if I got to choose the team I wanted to be on at the beginning and fought for their honor, like with Voting Gauntlets.
But I digress.
How was the actual gameplay that came with this new game mode?
Once players selected a region they wanted to march on (limited to areas in their army’s control or those just on the outskirts for invasions), they were given the opportunity to select a difficulty level and allocate up to eight stamina spears.
The difficulty level is fairly self-explanatory, but the stamina spears were a new take on a classic mechanic. In the Arena, players are given three chances to battle a day (via “dueling swords”) unless they use extra resources to restore those battle chances.
The stamina spears worked similarly to dueling swords in that you needed at least one to battle in Grand Conquests. However, the spears slowly regenerated throughout the day like regular battling stamina. On top of that, there was an extra risk/reward aspect in that extra spears could be allocated for each battle to boost the amount of points you earned.
Every battle in the Grand Conquests were rival domain-scale fights. Very large maps with 20-unit platoons on each side that duke it out to earn points by killing off opponents and stealing camps/forts.
While I enjoy the style of gameplay that comes with this, I do wish there was more of a direct player versus player interaction.
One day we’ll reach a place where opponents won’t just be computer-controlled versions of player-built teams. One day…
After the battle ended, points were calculated in a similar way to how rival domains do it:
Your score served two purposes. First and foremost, that area on the map had a higher chance of coming into your team’s control if you and other players all poured their resources into it and dominated the space.
More spaces, of course, led to more benefits after each game.
However, score also accumulated in a player’s Grand Conquest Tier.
There were 20 tiers in all. The higher tier the player, the more bonuses they offered to an area in terms of keeping it under that team’s control. Rising in tier also offered a number of rewards: Namely some orbs and full restores for stamina spears.
Sweet, sweet orbs man. They really are like crack.
And that in a not-so-small nutshell is the Grand Conquests mode. As another rotating event in the same vein as Voting Gauntlets and Tempest Trials, I quite like it overall!
Granted, there are issues in the execution like I mentioned (not choosing the army I wanted to support really does bug me), but overall this was an interesting twist on mechanics we’ve seen in play for some time now.
I’ll look forward to seeing Grand Conquests return sometime soon. Who knows, if enough is different next time around, I might just have to do a small series with these things like I did for Tempest Trials.
Hoo boy, amazing how I always wind up talking so god damn much so early into the morning. I swear I never intend these things to get long but they always do.
If you managed to make it this far, let’s try our hands at some fruitless audience interaction again.
What do you think about the new adjustments to the Tempest Trials formula? Do you think it’s going to be a healthy way to improve the game?
How about the Grand Conquests, do you enjoy those as a brand new way to play? What would you do to improve them going forward?
Let me know in the comments below!