After pouring over 70 hours into the game, I think it’s safe to say that I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Ultimate is probably the first Smash Bros. game that I would argue has stellar single player content which really jives with the way I like to play games, even if it doesn’t have a Subspace Emissary mode ala Smash Bros. Brawl.
Subspace Emissary offered a healthy mix of story-driven character interactions, platforming-based overworld sections, Smash fighter duels and big boss encounters to bring something to the table for everyone.
It even had secret characters hidden within the platforming sections who could only be unlocked via finding them. That’s a super cool reward for putting time into the game!
Plus it had couch co-op for anyone playing with a friend.
But for all the positivity Brawl offered for solo players, Subspace Emissary did shine brightest when playing it cooperatively. Also beyond that mode, it mostly survived among my friend group because of how fun it was to do regular Smash battles on custom-made stages.
What Smash Ultimate lacks in a story as character-driven as Subspace Emissary, it more than makes up for with the amount of care poured into the details of World of Light’s adventure and individualized Classic Mode routes.
I figure I’ll dive into each individually, making room for my change pertaining to Classic specifically.
World of Light
World of Light has a vague overarcing plot. Kirby must set out to save every other Smash fighter, as they have been captured by Galeem, the lord of light, and replicated for nefarious purposes.
In terms of interactions between characters, World of Light is lacking.
Instead it centers around Spirits, over 1,000 characters curated from just about any Nintendo (and third party) title that have taken over the mindless puppet fighters.
These Spirits are battled across a world map chock full of references. For instance, there’s an entire town made up of Nintendo consoles just underneath Lumiose City from Pokémon X & Y, and it can be revealed that the entire town is powered by a facility utilizing the electricity of Zapfish from Splatoon.
Each of the battles with Smash Ultimate’s Spirits also have great care put into how their source material is referenced.
One of my favorites is the Legendary Dogs from Pokémon:
But there’s a whole lot more to love, from a Dr. Wily battle where Dr. Mario hides behind eight metal Mega Men to a classic Donkey Kong spirit that has you fight alongside Peach against a massive DK on the arcade game’s stage.
Even this little indie gem:
And those are just a few of the hundreds of Spirit battles. I powered through the somewhat grind-heavy adventure just to see as many of them as I could.
That’s the power of well-crafted references. World of Light and the corresponding Spirit Board has them in spades, but even more come forth with Classic Mode.
Masahiro Sakurai’s team put just as much care into giving every fighter a unique Classic Mode route that fits their character.
At this point I’m kind of an expert in the subject:
There are three categories of Classic routes I would separate all 74 into.
References to the character’s game series or a particular storyline.
Combining opponents by color or theme based on the character’s interests.
Playing with the character’s quirks.
The first category has some of the most fun Classic runs.
Mega Man follows the story of his second adventure by taking on eight characters before fighting a giant robot, then Dr. Wily (Dr. Mario), then Mewtwo as an alien version of Wily.
Ryu fights proxy Street Fighter representatives and is the only one with Stamina battles (similar to fighting game life bars).
For characters that group things together, there’s a ton of variety.
Marth only fights dragons, ending off with a battle against Monster Hunter’s Rathalos.
Bowser fights red costumed fighters in reference to his hatred for Mario.
In the last category, you have unique rule sets.
Kirby fights characters that are known for eating, and only food items spawn.
Mewtwo takes control of one of his previous round’s opponents to be a teammate in the next.
There’s so much to love about Classic Mode in Smash Ultimate that the one (in my opinion) glaring execution error shines.
With all of the variety exuding in each route, far too many end with a fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand.
They are the biggest representatives of the Smash series as a whole, so it makes sense that they would be the default final boss. But the amount of times I groaned seeing them show when I expected someone else were far too frequent.
Why don’t more of the Mario characters battle Giga Bowser, for example?
It seems like a small thing, but the routes that go all-out on final bosses are the best. Toon Link’s Classic Mode is based on the Four Swords Games, and culminates in a four-on-one battle against Ganon from Ocarina of Time.
Now I’m not complaining to Sakurai’s team. They did so much more than they had to with Ultimate, and I love everything about it!
But if I could make any change to the end product, I would have added a more diverse boss battles.
Not just by handing out the six World of Light bosses more readily. So much more could have been achieved by adding a few Classic Mode-exclusive bosses as well.
I would have cranked the nostalgia machine up a few notches by adding a boss related to each of the eight original Smash 64 characters.
Mario, Link and Kirby already have representatives with Giga Bowser, Ganon and Marx. But imagine this:
Adding just a few extra bosses would add a ton of diversity and surprise for players who took on the World of Light first and might assume they’ve seen everything.
Again, don’t take this as me complaining about the end product in any serious manner. I’m simply a fan of all things Nintendo and can’t help but drool at the thought of even more iconography being brought together with such a well-crafted game.
That being said, what else would you want to see added into Smash Ultimate if you were on the dev team? It doesn’t even have to stick to bosses: Characters, alternate skins or items are always fun points of discussion as well!
Let me know in the comments or somewhere on the Internet, because even as I transition into playing Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with my sister, I’m still thinking all about that Smash.
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.
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?
Never before has my disinterest in a previous summoning banner turned out to be such a prescient blessing.
Today we have been given a brand new set of focus heroes in Fire Emblem Heroes and a new chapter in Book II’s story to go along with them. However, rather than showcasing some characters from one game, we’ve gotten a very special grouping.
That’s right, this special summoning focus is based on heroes who have dark, demented forms for one reason or another. It’s a brilliant idea for a collection to put forward… Though I do sort of wish they were saved for some kind of special holiday or event in which it would make a little more sense for them to appear.
But I can’t exactly call that a serious complaint by any means. After all I really DO love who we got here.
Just to kick things off I have a question. Why didn’t they just call this character Grima? I get that he’s supposed to be a corrupted Robin basically, but it would’ve made so much more sense to just change his nametag to ‘Grima.’ But I digress, as that petty consideration shines a light nowhere near as intense as the character himself. He has interesting skills and is our first armored dragon unit — with a broken ass weapon at that. Seriously it’s mad powerful and looks insane too. On top of being a good looking unit that’ll fit on my dragon team, I just generally love the twist in Awakening. Robin here will be my main hunt as a result!
Despite a few logical flaws, Celica is a great character in Fire Emblem Echoes. She’s so great in fact that the community voted for her in its second ‘Choose Your Legends’ event. That means a third Celica will be coming in the near future, which in hind sight is not a great thing. After all, Beloved Zofia went to this version, so what is the new Celica going to use? Seraphim magic perhaps? Not completely sure. Though what I am completely sure about is that I will be going after Celica too. Not only is she great-looking skill wise, but she’s just an overall amazing character like I said. Who wouldn’t love her, even with her soul stolen so she becomes a witch?
I’ll be honest, I have the least amount of connections to Hardin given that I didn’t even know who he was before this, so if there’s anyone on this list I’m not going to try summoning… It’s him. Robin and Celica are way more important, plus I already have a powerful Effie as my blue lance armored unit. Though I will say, I like how he fits into this theme as an ally of Marth who lets absolute power corrupt absolutely once he becomes Emperor of Archanea. That’s the kind of example of character information I’m glad I learned more about so I can feel better when I do encounter the guy.
I just… I’m not sure what else I have to say on this matter.
Seriously, I love these heroes. Besides perhaps Hardin’s picks, I have a strong desire to summon all of them.
Plus, Intelligent Systems surprised me by actually reading my mind. When I first saw the trailer show up for this banner online, I was very concerned seeing that Takumi corrupted at the end of Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest version did not show up. He’s basically a meme in his own right, and I figured it was a missed opportunity.
Then I found out Takumi corrupted is specifically going to show up later in a Grand Hero Battle. Like… That’s amazing! I suppose it was just an obvious choice, but knowing my thought process was validated is an incredibly satisfying feeling.
He’s not going to show up until later though. So for now, let’s look back at the heroes we have.
I’ll level with you, audience — when I started on this banner tonight, I had a mountain of orbs. 200.
Yeah, 200. You read that right.
That’s the blessing of my general disinterest in the Valentine’s Day banner that I mentioned before. Between all of the special anniversary events and the current Tempest Trial run I’ve been able to really bolster my reserves for an event just like this where I really, REALLY want the heroes.
Luckily I didn’t have to make too huge of a dent to get there:
It helps that he has a deep, kinda sexy voice too. You go evil Robin.
I spent about 35 orbs to get to him, and even though I’m showing some restraint for now I’ll definitely still go after Celica soon enough.
Also, it’s worth noting that somehow I got another five-star on the way to Grima:
Yeah… Not totally sure where Lucina came from, but I suppose I can’t complain. I’ve never gotten her before, so I finally have a new cinematic summoning animation to enjoy.
Even if Masked Lucina is still the better bae. Just saying.
Now earlier I mentioned that I wished these heroes got a bit more of a situational treatment elevating them specifically. That was referring primarily to the new story missions we got alongside our three new evil children.
See, as much as I appreciate the fact that we’re moving the game’s main plot along, the fact that we’re doing so leaves the new heroes as more of a footnote.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, honestly.
But… I do really like the development in this chapter, so I’ll let it slide. For now.
The new chapter picks up where the last one left off (obviously enough). The Order of Heroes have moved into Fjorm’s home nation having protected the village just outside the boundary, and now have to make their way to Gunnthrá who is hiding away.
However, their progress is quickly impeded by the arrival of Surtr’s army.
After defeating Laevatein, she retreats and the Order starts to make their way through the snow once more.
However, they’re troubled by the thought that thick tracks left in the heavy snow is going to lead the fiery army toward them wherever they go.
So Anna comes up with the brilliant idea of leaving one pathway in the snow as a diversion while masking their actual direction.
It seems to be working well enough with Laevatein… But not for our newly introduced villain: Her older sister.
I suppose this is as good a place as any to address my thoughts on Laegjarn…
I love her.
Seriously, she very quickly jumped up to being my favorite member of the opposing army. Not only is she intelligent, she’s cool and collected in a way that makes her seem like a methodical and more dastardly villain with undertones. Plus she totally sits around and gets out of jams with her little sister and it’s dope!
At one point, Fjorm even says she’s an amicable woman that’s willing to use diplomacy and build happiness among the oppressed.
My only real point of contention with her right now, as I think about it in my witching hour daze, is her overall relationship with her younger sister.
That relationship has me awfully conflicted. On the one hand, it’s freaking adorable. Laevatein clearly loves and adores her older sister, wanting to be just like her. Laegjarn appreciates the love and wants her younger sister to be happy.
It’s great because it reminds me of my relationship with my own younger sister in a way! That makes them awfully endearing characters to think that they care for each other in place of their awful father.
However… Even if I love the relationship, something about the way Laevatein has been portrayed now that her sister is around bugs me.
On the one hand it’s sweet seeing her have an endearing bond with her older sister. But on the other hand, as soon as the sister showed up Laevatein’s dialogue suddenly began to sound… Infantilized.
I get wanting to be respectful of your older sibling, but it seems like the girl has been neutered or something, and that seems like a shame considering she was previously my favorite.
Though maybe I’m over thinking it. If anything that same concern might just be a sign of her complex double facing nature. Who knows, only time will tell.
Anyway though I got WAY off track. But to be fair, once you beat the first mission not a lot happens until you arrive at the last mission when you’re backed into a wall.
After your group beats them, Laegjarn realizes they might be outclassed in terms of skill and orders a retreat.
While the Order goes off and does… Whatever they do… The focus stays on our fiery sisters.
As Laegjarn reflects on the fact that they’ll need new strategies if they want to win, Laevatein suggests a plan that receives quite a bit of flak.
I don’t know what this special skill is, but it sounds dope and I want to see it.
Unless it kills her. In which case, don’t put it in the game Intelligent Systems. I’d rather not have to deal with any painful self-sacrifices.
Luckily, in place of the hellfire skill a different idea is suggested:
Then things cut off. That’s all you get. Thanks for the money folks, come back another day.
A bit of an abrupt stop this time around, but I suppose I can’t complain. You’ve now seen how much of an emotional journey I felt watching these new characters interact, after all.
Though once again I really would have liked to see what a story focused around Grima and zombie Celica would look like. Talk about a missed opportunity.
That’s about that for my Fire Emblem Heroes blog post for the day. Obviously, I liked these new updates to the roster!
The new heroes are cool, the new villain is cool… I just really appreciate everything this time around. Plus I’ve been able to keep a lot of my orbs in storage, so I feel great about that going forward.
I could end this by asking about everything I talked about, but let’s keep things more simple this time around.
How do you feel about the relationship between Laevatein and Laegjarn? Am I overreacting to Laevatein’s silent obedience around her sister?
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.
First and foremost, there was a new Feh Channel released yesterday that updated everyone on new things coming around the bend.
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.
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?
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:
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…
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.
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?
The time for Tempest Trials has come once again in Fire Emblem Heroes. Unlike the last go around, I wouldn’t say I’m needlessly exhausted and upset with the event. Perhaps the set of mini trials in between the main installments really were what did it for me. Who knows.
Whatever the reason was, I’m not expecting to take an angry spin on this one like last time. However… Part of that might be because I don’t have all that much to say about these Trials in the first place.
All things considered, beyond the different underlying motivations of the characters and the unlockable elements involved, the actual playtime involved has simply become somewhat monotonous and same-y. Not all that much to say about it overall.
So let’s just address some of the basics of what makes these Trials different than what we had in the past.
Granted that research has improved my attachment to a few of them and informed me enough to understand where the characters are coming from in the “plot” of these Trials, but still. I’m generally left without any comments on maps or music or anything of that nature like I would usually have.
I do think its worth mentioning that I’ve gotten my hands on both the characters I was really looking for out of the three added the other day:
They both came rather easy so I didn’t have to waste too many orbs, which was sweet.
If anything that means I can focus on the summoning banner for the Tempest Trials if I want… Though I’m sort of in the same boat as the general public in thinking that the whole approach taken here is a bit duplicitous.
Rather than having this new character, Ayra, show up in a Grand Hero Battle or something along those lines, the developers at Intelligent System have put her in a totally separate summoning banner than the other Genealogy heroes. One that’s running at the same time as the other banner.
Plus, she’s a red unit in the same focus as another red unit, Eldigan. So the chances of getting her are cut, and if you want to even attempt to get there you have to deal with pulling time away from the other banner with Sigurd, Deirdre and Tailtiu.
It is a pretty lousy, orb-draining thing to do, arguably a strong attempt to force players to spend money on the game… But to be fair, I’m not sure Ayra is that worth getting in the first place outside of how cute she is. So I might not try too hard to go after her.
Possibly duplicitous practices aside, let’s talk about the Trials themselves.
The “plot” this time around boils down to Lucina encouraging Seliph to tackle the Tempest to protect Julia, as you can see above, while he has the chance to meet with his parents Sigurd and Deirdre so they can help him fight. Time and space shredding excuses around canonical timeline barriers abound.
The main bonus allies are the four new heroes from Genealogy featured in the two summoning banners I talked about earlier.
Luckily, Sigurd fits my most powerful cavalry-based team remarkably well, so I immediately have a great advantage walking in. I’ve already swept through entire runs with just one team alone thanks to that team, and it’s an amazing feeling for sure.
The secondary bonus allies are Eldigan and his sister, who came in some time ago, Arvis from the current Grand Hero Battle, and Arden, one of the main rewards from these Trials.
By rising in the ranks high enough, you can also earn three Sacred Seals from these trials:
Brash Assault: Unit automatically follows-up when attacking a foe that can Counter if they have less than 30 percent health.
Attack Smoke: Inflicts -3 Attack on all foes within 2 spaces of a selected attack target.
Guidance: Allows infantry and armored units to move to an ally with this seal that’s within two spaces and has full health.
My horse-based team makes this run of the Trials quite easy for me, like I mentioned before. I made it to the final map pretty quickly in fact, only to find that Julia is the main villain taking over… Whatever castle this is:
Honestly this fight is pretty easy too, compared to most of the others in the past. She’s certainly no insane powerhouse like Hector or the Black Knight, that’s for sure.
I will say, even if the fight isn’t all that difficult, the scenery of the map you fight on does make it pretty worth to get there.
Seriously, these backgrounds are super pretty. Just saying.
Well, that’s all I have to say about this run of the Tempest Trials. Remarkable I know, considering I haven’t even hit 900 words. I’m amazed I was able to be this… Somewhat concise with all of this.
Some of that might honestly be because I’m starting to run out of things to say about these after so long. Honestly, after going after the few things that are new, there isn’t that much else to dig into. Perhaps from here on out that means I might not write so much for Tempest Trials, if I even write anything at all. Who knows.
We’ll see as time goes on I suppose.
In my empty attempt at trying to push for audience engagement this time around, how’s this for a question. What do you think of the fact that Intelligent Systems put out a second summoning banner just about a week after the first one to force players to split their time and resources for summoning? While it’s not necessarily that new remembering the double summoning banners for Fire Emblem Echoes back when the game was first coming out, this time around things just feel a bit more scummy to me.
Is that impression just in my own head though? Or do you agree?
Let me know in the comments below, and until next time I’ll be off doing work and likely stressing over the upcoming visit of Milo Yiannopoulos at CSUF. Because yeah, that’s happening soon. Time sure has flown this semester.
After a week of being checked out in terms of blogging, I have to say it feels like a nice little personal accomplishment to have something video game-y around here two days in a row. Sure it’s pretty general Pokémon news followed by yet another Tempest Trials post, but just getting myself to do it is nice.
Though, as the title of this one suggests, I’m actually not expecting to write all that much for this one. It’ll probably be more of a short “here’s what’s going down” post without a lot of fluff because there isn’t too much fluff to add. These trials aren’t unique for being miniature, there’s no new mechanics being implemented or tweaks to the formula or anything of that nature. No, this time, it just seems like Intelligent Systems have hit a consistent stride in putting these out.
So much so that I frankly almost dread the perceived time sink undergoing these trials may become moreso than I’m interested in seeing how they play out. It’s an odd bit of existentialism for a game that I enjoy, but it’s something I’m probably going to have to work out on my own so I won’t bore the world with those details here.
Instead, let’s get right in and see what’s new this time around.
Editor’s Note: I’m coming back here to say I thought this would be short before it wound up being 2,000 words or so. For anyone I may have even momentarily misled, I hope you accept my sincere apologies.
That much is evident right when you enter the Tempest icon and get an introductory scene where Masked Lucina joins the Greil Mercenaries to help them save their world much like she has with a number of other groups thus far.
As usual, I do appreciate the continued world building we get following a single character in her drive to stop the Tempest, as I’m sure that wide-spread narriative is eventually going to culminate in an ambitious “save the universe” push through either a final Trial or more in-game story missions.
In this case, however, the tying narriative feels… Underwhelming. The six panels I presented above are essentially all the story you get before getting dropped straight into things. It’s simple and it works, but at this point perhaps the formulaic nature is starting to get a little stale.
Though I will concede that it’s interesting how Lucina continues to come in with preemptive knowledge on just who the chief antagonist of the Trials will be:
The detail might be small and easy to brush aside, but I would honestly be interested in seeing some sort of a backstory at some point showcasing whether Lucina always has advanced knowledge because she knows more than she lets on about the villains behind the Tempest in some intense conspiracy or because she does some extensive recon before meeting up with your allies in the fight.
Or, I guess arguably the most logical answer given her canonical character is that she knows everything because she’s from the future. But even that could make an interesting twist on the whole affair, letting us see her learning about the aftermath in an area ruined by a Tempest before she goes back to save that area in the past.
Just some food for thought.
Once you’re past the underwhelming nitty-gritty of the story behind these Trials, everything continues to be business as usual.
In a small-scale interesting twist, the Bonus allies have been reversed this time around. Rather than having the heroes you can summon on the Tempest Trials-themed banner serve as the +40% bonus heroes, they sit down in the +20% instead. Aside from Ike, who of course gets to be at the top of the pack. Joining Ike instead this time around are the three summoning banner focus heroes from Crimea that got released on September 15.
That twist luckily comes in my favor, as I’ve had a good string of pulls in Heroes since these three were put in the game:
My Elincia-led Pegasus squad finally gets its time to shine.
That said, the battle system itself is the same. Get through X number of battles based on the difficulty you choose, where each team you use is worn down in every battle and you only have access to a certain number of teams also based on your difficulty.
Enemy units still keep their damage and unit loses when your team loses, and though that’s quite an old change at this point, I’ll never stop praising the developers for implementing that.
At the end of a run you come face-to-face with the Black Knight, just as Lucina warned at the beginning of everything:
I don’t have any personal experience with the special map you fight him in because I haven’t played the games these characters come from, but I do enjoy the grand throne room look. It’s dope.
Unlike the Black Knight, who is actually a huge pain in the ass.
In my post about the Crimean heroes, I talked about the Black Knight appearing in the newest story missions. At the time I mentioned his skills seemed pretty broken, the kind of thing that would make him a wonderful unit to use on an heavy Armor-based team. I still stand by that, but the flip side is true in that he becomes that much harder to fight when he’s a good unit.
Take a look at this:
Reinhardt is arguably one of the best units in Fire Emblem Heroes. Particularly on a team of cavaliers, he’s well renowned in the game’s meta for being a unit that one-shots practically any unit through a combination of his high power, mobility and special multi-attack tome. I think he’s the only unit besides Hector who had consistently been considered S+ tier among fan rankings with or without skill investment.
Yet even with a team specially built to support him, my Reinhardt wasn’t able to kill the Black Knight even after activating a high damage-boosting special move. That’s pretty crazy.
Of course I was personally able to beat him after whittling the guy down, but I did have to use another team to do the job. It’s a pain to have to deal with the extra steps, somewhat adding to the monotony of taking on these battles over-and-over, but thanks to a collection of good teams I have at least racking up points overall isn’t a problem for me like it once was.
In the end it all becomes worth it, as what would racking up points be without rewards to collect for the hard work?
This time around the character reward is none other then our buddy the Black Knight himself:
That’s right, beat the guy down enough and he’ll eventually submit to your command. There’s something poetic to that I suppose, and it adds some levity to the idea of having to take on his challenge repeatedly.
The other token Sacred Seal rewards are a bit more hit-and-miss this time around, however. The first two are a +1 Resistance boost and Fortify Defense to benefit adjacent allies at the start of each turn. Nothing particularly special.
The third Sacred Seal is Panic Ploy at 40,000 points, which is actually well worth the effort. Panic Ploy makes it so every unit in all spaces across cardinal directions that have 5 less health than the equipped unit start a turn with stat buffs becoming stat reductions instead. It’s a rare ability on units you can summon, so having the ability to choose someone to put it on via a Seal is actually really nice.
Oh, and let’s not forget the small mountain of Orbs, feathers and crystals you can pile up while making your way through the reward tiers. Those are always nice.
Beyond that, there’s honestly nothing new to say regarding these Tempest Trials. There could be something interesting in the post-game cutscene with Masked Lucina moving on to her next challenge, but I don’t have the precognitive abilities to tell what that’s going to be two weeks from now, so this is just about the end of the road. Now we’re off on a journey to slog through the battles to make those reward tiers over the next two weeks.
If you hadn’t noticed, this post has honestly been a little more clinical and negative than usual, with lots of talk about slogging through repetitive battles. I’ve certainly noticed it. That could just be because I’m a little tired and in a weird mental place lately, but realistically it occurs to me now that perhaps the close proximity to our last Tempest Trials Mini has led to a preemptive downfall of this one in my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I will literally never complain about the rewards we get for participating in these events, but my personal play style tends to encourage going after as many of those rewards as possible to hoard those suckers for a rainy day. Since the second Tempest Trials, I’ve always hit the top tier of rewards so suckle every last Orb from Intelligent System’s only occasionally benevolent teat.
Because of that, I think I’ve developed a habit of burning myself out on Heroes whenever a Trials period comes along. The two weeks that have Trials every month or so are the only times I use Stamina Potions, as I have so many of those that I can consistently slam them out, mindlessly battle in one hand until my energy is gone and repeat to rack up as many points as possible in as condensed a period as possible.
Perhaps that means the fault is in my own hands for feeling exhausted about these Trials before they begin. I know what I’m getting myself into and I know I just went through it, so I’m just not in the right frame of mind to do it again.
But that argument in itself implies a deeper root issue. Did the Miniature Trials throw off my Heroes Circadian Rhythm, as it were? Did having a small version of this same event in the middle of the usual refractory period we get extend some underlying exhaustion I’ve yet to come to terms with?
Perhaps. That certainly seems like a logical argument.
At the same time, however, I’m not sure I can argue whether this is an inherently good or a bad thing. Obviously the developers wouldn’t intend to burn out their players, so I’m sure it’s not some conspiracy against me personally. It’s just something I have to come to confront in my own overly-complex logical approaches to what should honestly be a mindless experience.
That said, I will argue that perhaps it’s time for something new to come around in Heroes to freshen things up a little more. Because if we start to continue a frequent schedule of Trials and Miniature Trials, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep latched on for very long.
Existential reflections on this game out of the way, I will actually leave well enough alone and end things here. It’s about time I get some sleep before I continue to ramble way past what’s necessary, and I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing me talk for a long time about small things the last couple days.
So, as usual I’ll leave with a question for the audience. For those of you who play Fire Emblem Heroes too: Am I just mindlessly rambling about things that are in my own head? Or does this particular Trials run seem more exhaustive and underwhelming than usual? Is there anything else you’d like to see come around to shake things up?
As much as it’s better to be busy than bored, I’ve been a little stretched thin. Unfortunately that means some things have to fall through the cracks, and some big Fire Emblem Heroes stuff happens to be what fell through said cracks this time around. It’s a shame too, there have been multiple things that I otherwise would have loved to talk about in a more timely manner.
But look at me complaining about missing fun stuff because work and responsibilities got in the way. Probably time to move on to what I’m talking about today before the world’s smallest violin busts out a tune.
Since I gabbed about the game’s Brave Heroes update last time around, quite a few things have happened. First and foremost:
That’s right, I got me a special Lucy.
Humblebrag that may be, but Lucina is one of my favorite characters given her high prestige as my Super Smash Bros. 4 main fighter. So I’m excited about it and wanted to share it with the world.
The last Voting Gauntlet also wound up being much more of an intense game than I’ve seen in some time. As I predicted at the beginning of the competition, Ike won.
The guy is so popular that it was hard to imagine he wouldn’t, and I got off with plenty of hero feathers thanks to my lucky intelligent deduction, so you’ll hear no complains from me. Camilla did put up a good fight though, and the intense competition both in the overall Gauntlet and within my friend group (as we literally split down the middle with our support) made things way more engaging.
Also we got 4 orbs every two days for each of the three rounds. That’s a nice incentive as well. Feel free to keep nice stuff like that flowing, Intelligent Systems.
Then as things moved into September, we got an event calendar for the month that preempted a bunch of cool things coming in the near future:
A few of these events have started already, and those are the crux of what I’m here to talk about today. So let’s get going and split it up appropriately, shall we?
Ironically this version update is the biggest news to come out of Fire Emblem Heroes in a long time… Yet I don’t have a ton to say about it.
Fire Emblem has become known not only for its high difficulty strategy-RPG gameplay, but also for its comprehensive unit support systems across many of the games in the series. In Fire Emblem Heroes, only one of those things has been represented since the initial release.
Until now, that is.
Ally support systems are in the game, and with it comes endless possibilities for ships in serious and in meme-worthy contexts. As someone who has loved shipping in Fire Emblem games since my first venture into Sacred Stones, I’m more than excited to see that we can pair up characters to our hearts content.
Just like in the main series titles, allies who fight near one another in battle gain support rankings that range from C to S when undergoing support training. However, an interesting component to Heroes’ model comes from the fact that you can constantly switch who your hero supports. You could have an S-support with a unit only to break that off and start another one back at C, and you can do so as many times as you want.
While I haven’t had the chance to build much support beyond basic C-level stuff, it seems as though the characters interact in a cute little cutscene to show how much they enjoy each other’s company for every rank you climb. You can view the little vignettes that come with this whenever you want.
In battle, supporting allies gain bonuses depending on their rank and distance from one another:
C-rank grants units +1 resistance from one space away, double that when adjacent.
B-rank grants units +1 resistance and defense from one space away, double that when adjacent.
A-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense and speed from one space away, double that when adjacent.
S-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense, speed and attack from one space away, double that when adjacent.
However, on the battlefield itself, it doesn’t appear as though supporting units get special indication beyond a heart over the support partner when you select one or the other. Perhaps there’s more if you get higher that I haven’t seen, but in this case there’s no way for me to know.
I do hope they add in a small heart animation when units fight side by side though. That would be amazing.
The other interesting thing to note about ally support is that you, the summoner, can get in on the anime-themed shipping action as well!
That’s right, what would a modern Fire Emblem game be without a self-insert character to pair with any unit you desire? The concept behind how this works is exactly the same so long as you replace each instance of “two units” with “one unit,” as you technically count as the second presence in the room.
The scaling benefits are also slightly better for summoner supported allies:
A C-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance and +3 health at all times.
A B-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense and +4 health at all times.
An A-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed and +4 health at all times.
An S-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed, attack and +5 health at all times.
Okay by slightly better I actually mean infinitely better. These are some amazing stat buffs to be able to bestow upon one ally.
Which, of course, brings us to the question that serves as this post’s title.
Are you the kind of player that will pair your units together because you canonically love them as a pairing in the story of their games/the story of your imagination’s choosing?
Or are you the kind of player that will pair your units strictly to build the strongest team imaginable, letting no stat points go to waste?
Personally… I haven’t decided which category I am. In all other circumstances I would wholeheartedly go for option 1, as I ship literally anything and everything in any video game I play, TV show I watch, book I read and more. But for Fire Emblem Heroes the pure stat buffs are awfully tempting… Especially on my cavalier team.
I would kill for some high-leveled units to get even stronger.
But for the summoner support especially I’m at a loss. Who do I want to be with? Do I pair myself with a powerful unit like a Brave Lyn to make her a battling monster? Do I pair with a sentimental unit like Eirika from my favorite Fire Emblem game (despite her actual husband being available)? Or do I pair myself with a unit like Nino, my first true Fire Emblem Heroes waifu? I literally have no idea.
Oh well. I’ll have time to figure it out.
Overall, I would say the Ally Support system is a welcome addition to this mobile title that, despite being somewhat barebones right now, easily serves its purpose and has opened the flood gates for people to do whatever they please in terms of customizable relationships.
In a sense it’s somewhat ingenious to have the feature in a mobile game styled like Heroes is where each player can build their own experiences with unit pairing. Sure it’s only porting an already existing idea over, but I still think it lends itself uproariously well.
And if I ever summon her I’ll be able to finally get revenge on the restrictive Echoes by shipping Genny and Tobin.
While shipping is easily the biggest addition to Version 1.7.0, it isn’t the only one.
Though there isn’t a lot, so the pictures above basically sum everything up.
A search option for skill inheritance is a great idea, one that I’m sure already has, is continuing to and will from here on out save people tons of time when building teams. The rest of the stuff boils down to some aesthetic and deep mechanical adjustments that I don’t feel like I have to dive into that deeply.
If anything, I just think it’s safe to say that I appreciate the game developers for constantly updating things to make the best user experience possible. So far nothing they’ve done has failed me yet and it seems like the community as a whole enjoys the changes too.
Keep it up Intelligent Systems, and I’ll keep up giving you some free publicity whenever you start up new developments. New interesting developments.
New interesting developments such as –
Tempest Trials Mini: To Die on the Battlefield
A new Tempest Trial, which launched just today!
In other words, this is the section of this post that kept me from getting that much sleep last night. Thanks game, you always know how to prod at my insomniac button.
The Trials start off about how we’ve come to expect them at this point. Masked Lucina has teamed up with the four top Bonus Allies for this go around (Eliwood, Lyn, Hector and Ninian) to help lead them into the Tempest so they can protect their world.
However, she does warn them that the character at the end of the Trial is a special kind of foe:
After you break through the usual barrage of battles (seven at the highest Lunatic difficulty in my case), you come across that special foe. The build-up is intense, the anticipation is great, and in the end…
It’s Hector. Given the description Lucina gave for him I suppose it makes sense that this is the character who’d show up at the end, but I wouldn’t liked to see something more novel-
I’m sorry, what was that? 85 health?
And Distant Counter?
My god… This unit is completely overpowered.
I actually legitimately think it’s glorious just how overpowered he is. Hector is already considered to be one of the most powerful units in the game and they buffed him to high hell for this event. Thank god they keep units weak after you lose a fight, otherwise this might have been next to impossible. He actually beat down quite a few of my units before I was able to finally take him down the first time, ending the first of many future runs at the same challenges that I’ll be playing for the next week.
Oh, uhh… Also the background is pretty.
Hector kind of overshadows it, but I do think it’s quite nice. Thought that would be worth mentioning.
Mechanically speaking, not all that much is new this time around. Everything that has been added throughout the last couple of Tempest Trials runs have made their return, and I definitely appreciate their continued appearance. Weaker opponents upon losing a fight and switching to a new team still probably being my favorite. Though a close second is the two daily rounds of extra bonus points for completing runs on top of the separate daily rewards you receive for completing said runs that really encourage continued habit-building playing.
This particular event only lasting a week instead of two weeks (hence the “Mini” modifier) also means there are less reward tiers, making everything easier to collect. Bonus Allies become that much more worthwhile as a result, since they continue to boast stat boosts across the board on top of their value as point multipliers.
Now, it may sound like I just glossed over the idea that the event is shorter and has less rewards, which is something I’m sure plenty of people have found reason to complain about… But frankly I glossed over it because I think it’s rather nice.
As my very complaint-filled introduction at the beginning suggested, I don’t have a ton of time to spare as of late. Thus, having a smaller and more manageable event with easier goals to reach is a godsend if anything.
On top of that the rewards are so tightly packed that it feels like we’re getting plenty of bang for our buck in quantity.
Though that does bring up another point. These rewards are… Fairly disappointing overall.
Don’t get me wrong, things like free orbs are a commodity I’ll never complain about, and with my huge stockpile of Stamina Potions I have no doubt that all of those sweet little spheres will be in my inventory in no time flat. But these Trials tend to be known for big special prizes throughout the point accumulation process that serve as driving forces.
This run doesn’t really have that, for me at least.
Masked Lucina is the character reward, and even my love for her doesn’t change the fact that I already own a five-star version to use. Defense 1 and Quickened Pulse are also pretty ‘meh’ rewards, as they are Sacred Seals I already have (though I do encourage anyone who doesn’t have it to go after Quickened Pulse).
Distant Defense is brand new at least, and it certainly looks like it will be right at home on a bulky unit I own sometime soon. However, that’s about it beyond the orbs. Maybe I’m just feeling picky, which I know I shouldn’t considering there’s a full Tempest Trial coming at the end of the month that I’m sure will have all the cool stuff we could ask for.
One thing this trial does have going for it is a pretty dope summoning focus banner based on the Bonus Allies. Basically everyone on the list is a super cool and powerful hero to have, so even though I haven’t decided whether to use my own orbs yet I know the risk will certainly be worth it for some.
For now, however, I’m sticking with Masked Lucina as my main multiplier. Girl puts in work with those stat buffs.
Unless more comes up as I play through the next week of fights, that’s really all I have to say about these Trials. I like the idea that miniature versions can exist, and I hope that means more events will be encouraged in the future, but this particular run doesn’t add too much to the overarching plot line or the pile of special prizes we’ve seen in the past.
If nothing else it simply serves as a nice transition into a focus on some Blazing Blade content. Speaking of, how’s about we move into the next thing.
Bound Hero Battle: Ephraim & Eirika
Though I don’t normally talk about these events, the fact that Sacred Stones has been the focus makes it worth at least bringing up as a farewell of sorts.
The mid-to-late portion of August was spent in the world of Sacred Stones between new heroes and a Grand Hero Battle. By the looks of it, this event may be the last hurrah for it on Heroes for a while as things move into The Blazing Blade with the mini Tempest Trial.
Though I think it’s a shame, more than one game does deserve to have the spotlight. Life moves on and all that, so I’ll just look forward to the next shot we might get at Neimi. #NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender
In terms of the Bound Hero Battle itself there isn’t all that much to say. It features one difficult battle with three challenge levels that offer scaling rewards.
Hard mode gives out two orbs, Lunatic gives out three orbs and Infernal gives out a whopping four orbs. Nine orbs ain’t too shabby.
For the actual playable map itself, I can’t honestly decipher which map from the original game it’s trying to emulate. This one seems just a bit too simple to really give any substantial hints in my opinion, though it has been driving me crazy enough that I tried doing some outside research on the matter.
Oh, and as an added note, thank god for Serenes Forest having these maps available to see. If it didn’t my wall would probably have a very distinct Jason-shaped hole in it right about now.
The Bound Hero Battle also comes with a summoning banner featuring Eirika, Ephraim and Seth. The only one on the list that I don’t personally own is Ephraim, and considering he’s also on another banner that’s running at the same time…
I probably won’t be summoning off of this focus. Sorry Ephraim, I’ll snatch you up eventually.
Boy oh boy that was a lot. On the bright side, I think that should cover my personal obligation to talk about Fire Emblem Heroes for a good while.
Or for at least a week. At which point we get new heroes according to the schedule. Then we’ll get another Bound Hero Battle, a full Tempest Trials run and some Fire Emblem Warriors-themed maps after that.
… Yeah alright, maybe there’s more coming up than I expected. Guess it’ll give me a nice break from the already ever-present slog of school if I make the time to talk about them.
Which of course I will, so look forward to some of that!
How do you feel about character pairings coming to the mobile Fire Emblem hit? Or about the prospects of a potentially more frequent miniature version of the Tempest Trials? Or about the many events coming down the pipeline? Let me know in the comments below!
The Tempest Trials have returned in Fire Emblem Heroes, and this time they’re based in the land of Valentia, home of Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes.
Unlike the last Tempest Trials, this one comes with a little less pomp and circumstance. While the Ylisse-themed trials had an extra paralogue series aimed at explaining how the entire calamitous event began, this one simply comes with a small conversation introducing it to a new world:
It wasn’t much, but I did find it interesting to note that Masked Lucina continues to be the bridge for Tempest Trials appearances. Given her initial appearances and overall role in Awakening, when she served as a warning for the coming apocalypse by the Fell Dragon Grima and aimed to stop its rise, it makes a lot of sense.
It’s also pretty cool from a lore perspective, I would say. Gives the chance for these events to tie together and be more engaging as they go along and hit more worlds.
First and foremost, the major difference between this version of the Tempest Trials and the last version is the locale. Instead of the battles taking place on maps from Fire Emblem Awakening, they take place on the maps from Fire Emblem Echoes.
In the most difficult Lunatic-level run, the first three battles take place on maps from Alm’s in-game route (featured in the “World of Shadows” Paralogue) and the second three battles take place on maps from Celica’s in-game route (featured in the “Rite of Shadows” main story chapter).
The final battle takes place in the ritual sacrifice room underneath Duma Tower where you have your final bout with Berkut in Echoes. I won’t spoil anything here, but the fight has some emotional repercussions in the games story, so having that map as a background is pretty awesome.
One of the coolest things about this map is that it continues the tradition in Fire Emblem Heroes of using the origin map’s music to accompany the fight. While Alm’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 1 and 3 from Echoes and Celica’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 2 and 3 from Echoes, the final fight in the ritual sacrifice room uses the music from Chapter 5 where the in-game battle takes place.
It’s both fitting and brings up good memories from that part of the game. All and all a nice touch.
Plus, Celica is the big contender to deal with rather than Veronica, which is phenomenal considering how hard it was to get past her.
The next change regards differences in the missions that have been added to correspond with the event:
Now, instead of there being a larger reward for completing runs in the trials over the course of the two weeks, the reward missions for completing runs are going to recycle every day and come with smaller prerequisites. Completing the run once, twice or three times rather than 15 times in a more long-term format.
The rewards for these daily missions will also be doubled once the event is halfway done, starting on July 14th. At the very least, this makes aiming for the stamina bottle way more worthwhile, as each of them provides enough energy to accommodate about 5 runs at the Trials on their own.
To accompany this new mission system also comes changes to the format of battles and the multi-team selection mechanic as you progress through battles.
The update log specifies two proprietary changes in this field:
First, the scores you can receive in normal and hard difficulty runs have been increased. This is good for people who are new to the game at least, as it makes it easier to rack up points when you don’t have that many good units to cycle through. However, I only attempt the hardest difficulty so I can earn as many points as possible even with losses, so it doesn’t affect me that much.
Second, the more significant and honestly much needed change, comes into play as battles progress.
Inevitably, your units will begin to burn out the further into the challenge you get. Health and death are not restored when you move from one battle to the next, so even the strongest of teams can get worn down. This fact hasn’t changed, but what happens when you move from one team to the next has.
During the last Tempest Trials, when you began with a second team, the opponents on whatever battle you’re fighting were restored to full capacity with just a small health deficit.
Now the opponent’s team receives the same treatment yours does. Whoever you kill before your team loses stays dead and all the damage you cause carries on.
Finishing the final battle against Veronica in the last Trials was frankly a nightmare. Even if you got close to winning and lost, all of your work would be undone when you started with the next team. It meant you had to be nearly perfect to make it to the end and follow-through for a victory.
My teams were less than perfect, so I had to work up to the higher-tiered rewards by racking up as many points from loses as I could.
The fact that you can wear down your opponent’s team is frankly a godsend. I’ve already won more times in one day than I did in the entirety of the other event’s two week runtime.
It makes everything feel faster and more engaging to play, which fixes my major complaint of getting burned out on Tempest Trials runs far too quickly the last time it came around.
The last major change to discuss are the rewards to shoot for.
In Fire Emblem Heroes, sacred seals allow heroes to have an extra skill to utilize for building battle strategies. However, you can’t have more than one of each kind of seal, so it would be useless to provide the same rewards a second time around.
Thus, there are two new sacred seals and a brand new hero to aim for:
The lower-level seal at 20,000 points is a +1 Resistance buff. The higher-level seal, pictured above at 40,000 points, is Phantom Speed 1. This seal automatically adds 5 points to your unit’s speed stat whenever a skill activates that compares your unit’s speed to another unit’s speed.
The character reward this time around is Tobin, one of Ram Village’s children and childhood friend of Alm. Arguably one of my favorite villagers too… Though I’m not sure I fully understand his designation as “The Clueless One.” If anything, I remember him being more of a confidant and advisor to Alm.
That’s beside the point, however.
Compared to the last character reward, Masked Lucina, Tobin looks to be a little underwhelming. Lucina was a completely blank slate that allowed for complete customization of skills through inheritance, which was an interesting prospect. Tobin, however, comes prepackaged with an Armorslayer+ and the skills Pivot, Attack +3 and Seal Speed 3.
While I give the game some points considering I made my Tobin a mercenary during my playthrough of Echoes, meaning I appreciate the idea of him holding a sword (even if it isn’t my personal token Levin Sword that slaughtered fools), these skills don’t seem fantastic or make him standout particularly well.
Hopefully I’m proven wrong by a good stat distribution, but I suppose I’ll find that out once I unlock him. He has attachment value at least, so I’ll be happy to get him for that if nothing else.
Besides the two additional summoning focuses corresponding with the Tempest Trials and with the Alm & Celica special battle, that just about sums everything up in regards to the new event.
I’m building up my orb surplus after splurging to get Eldigan after all, so I probably won’t be spending any on those. Even if the second chance at getting Genny, my favorite Echoes unit, is appealing.
How do you feel about this second Tempest Trials? Do you appreciate the changes to the format as much as I do? Or would you have liked to see more done?
Personally, I’m pretty happy with the changes. Between getting through a number of updates in Duel Links coming down the pipeline, I’ll gladly be working my way up to that 5 star Tobin.
Don’t do this all too often, but Heroes updated again today and essentially invalidated large chunks of this post, so I figured I would address it in an update here as well.
When I talked about how I felt Legion and Clarisse should have been the heroes featured in the newest summoning focus, I apparently did not anticipate that the characters could and likely would show up in Grand Hero Battles.
In hindsight it seems rather obvious (though I suppose you can say that for most things in hindsight). Characters like Xander who had been in the game through missions without being a summonable hero did wind up coming to the game later as Grand Hero Battles, where you unlock them by beating a particularly hard map.
Since Legion and Clarisse are boss characters from Mystery of the Emblem, I suppose it also makes sense for them to be unlocked through especially hard fights.
The Legion fight is particularly interesting, however, as it’s the first Grand Hero Battle that has an extra difficulty level: Infernal.
Dramatic letter coloring is dramatic.
Infernal is pretty much just a step up in difficulty that comes with an additional four star Legion and 2,000 feathers. Both are decent rewards to work to get, as duplicate characters can pass down skills and feathers are generally a rare (but highly useful) commodity.
I tried to beat the fight on Infernal but didn’t exactly get very far. Most of my best heroes aren’t well-equipped to tank heavy damage, which they have to be with a map that continuously spawns hard units to fight.
But… Oh well, at least I got this one:
Anyway, that’s about all for this update. I figured it wouldn’t be a big enough thing for its own post, but I also didn’t want to just delete what I had on this post already. Keeping it around for posterity and timely remembrance and all that.
Just keep in mind as you read through the rest of this post, which I essentially tried to frame around the idea of there being a missed opportunity with these heroes, that even the greatest of thoughts can ultimately be wrong without all of the pieces at play.
E3 has just about come and gone for the year. While I’m planning on putting something out talking about some of my personal high points from the conference, I’m not quite prepared to do that right now.
So instead, here’s an update on the most recent update for Fire Emblem Heroes that came out last night. While not quite as expansive as the Tempest Trials release, we did get four new heroes to play around with:
From Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem comes Katarina, an assassin who aspires to be a tactician, Athena, a foreigner from a town bordering Archanea who speaks with a accent, and best friend/rivals Roderick and Luke, two cavaliers serving under Marth in the Altean army alongside Katarina.
I personally have not played New Mystery of the Emblem, or the original Mystery of the Emblem for that matter, so I don’t have much experience with these four new heroes. Though, I was surprised during my research to find that Athena appeared in Shadow Dragon as well. I have played that game, but I honestly don’t remember seeing her.
One thing I can say about the four heroes that were chosen is that I feel like there was a missed opportunity somewhere along the lines. Let me explain.
The plot line of the new Paralogue that was added for this summoning focus feels more like a filler arc in an anime than just about any other Paralogue I’ve seen added into the game. Which, I might add, is really saying something considering the one before it focused on heroes randomly pulled together for wedding-based shenanigans.
In essence, it follows the primary members of the Order of Heroes (Alphonse, Sharena and Anna) entering into the new lands of Mystery of the Emblem hoping to free heroes that have made contracts with Veronica and, in Sharena’s case, make new friends.
Once you arrive, the first hero you encounter is Katarina, being aided by Roderick and Luke. When you defeat her, she bonds with Sharena and takes your team on a trip through the land to help free her other friends.
Arguably the most interesting thing about this series of Paralogue missions to me is the fact that heroes who aren’t a part of the summoning focus appear on top of the characters who are a part of the focus. As far as I can remember, this is the first time something like that has happened, which makes these missions stand out in their own right. For example, along the way you discover Athena being attacked by discount Gollum named Legion:
Okay technically they’re on the same team in this mission, but that’s not what I’m looking to point out. What I’m looking to point out is that this is a seriously strange characterization for any character.
You also come across an archer named Clarisse, who arrives when you find out that (big shocker) Katarina was actually tricking Sharena the whole time and spent the previous missions leading your team into a trap.
Considering every other mission thread in the past has had the heroes making a contract with Veronica stay under that influence until the final battle, the feigned friendship act is honestly pretty obvious the whole way through.
By the end, it is revealed that Katarina truly does appreciate the trust and friendship Sharena entrusts in her and hopes that they can work together again in the future… Despite the fact that she led the Order of Heroes into a deathtrap. It’s a sweet, if not hokey, moment that also results in Sharena having a moment with Alphonse talking about the value of her trusting nature compared to his more hesitant and cautious one.
The more separate nature of the narrative and moral-based conclusion to this Paralogue is what makes it feel like a filler episode of a show to me. Something about the writing gives me the same kind of impression.
I say everything about this setup feels like a missed opportunity because every hero besides Katarina that you can summon is pretty much utterly wasted. Roderick, Luke and Athena have no speaking lines at all across any of the three missions. Meanwhile, Legion and Clarisse not only have plenty of speaking lines but also seem like much more interesting characters. I understand it’s because the four heroes they chose go together at the beginning of the game’s story, but still.
Seriously, I’d use Clarisse, her design is great and I like her seemingly scalding attitude. Plus her Clarisse’s Bow inflicts -5 attack and speed on enemies within two spaces after each attack. Now that I’m more into serious battle strategies, it’s a pretty sweet sounding weapon.
Oh, also, the summoning focus comes with three additional missions.
Figured I would just throw this in there. I’m not really sure what a smooth way to transition into it would be and it’s the last thing I have to talk about for this update. So… Yeah. That’s about that.
However, I’m not much of a fan of unceremonious endings, so I’ll add on an update for my progress in the Tempest Trials as well.
Because players of the game were able to amass a total of 2,639,517,292 points since the beginning of the event, everyone who participated gets a pretty nice reward for their trouble.
Personally, I have been able to collect at least enough points to reach the main goal I’ve set out for:
The Trials as a whole are admittedly more of a slog than I expected they would be. Each round takes a long time to complete, so even though I have more than enough stamina bottles to be able to get all the rewards, I haven’t felt like sinking in enough time to repeat the same fights over and over again.
Nevertheless, I will continue the uphill climb so I can hopefully get the new seals and a five star variant of Masked Lucina. She’s a rather interesting character, all things considered. Besides getting access to Falchion as a five star unit, she gets no skills at all. As a result, it seems like Intelligent Systems planned the character out specifically to be a build-your-own blank slate. I can’t say I’m opposed to the idea, in fact I’m rather excited to figure out how I want my Lucina to fit into a team!
There, NOW that’s all I have to say about Fire Emblem Heroes for the day. Thus it’s time for the obligatory comment questions at the end of the post.
How do you feel about the new focus heroes? Do you feel they should have gone with different heroes to summon instead like I do? And, of course, who would you like to see arrive in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes in the future? By now I’m sure my own answer to that question should be obvious. I’ve been waiting for a Sacred Stones-based summoning focus for quite some time now.
Also don’t ask why I’m feeling so much more fourth wall breaking than usual as far as blathering on about my lack of knowing what to do, because I’m not sure.
Now here’s a special event I can really sink my teeth into.
Today a special event called the Tempest Trials dropped in Fire Emblem Heroes. Like the text I screen captured above says, the event has introduced a new game mode in which you fight through a series of maps that bring to the table an element highly characteristic of Fire Emblem games as a whole: Permanent character death.
Or at least, permanent death in a certain sense.
Before I get into that, however, I figure I should hit this particular discussion in what I would consider a ‘chronological order.’ In this case, starting with a discussion of how the event fits into the game’s lore. After all, this more massive undertaking of an event does present an interesting addition to the continual plot of the game.
To explain the event in storied terms, one new Xenologue has been added:
The Xenologue only has one mission (with three difficulty levels that each give 3 orbs – leading to a net 9-orb profit as per convention at this point), and it isn’t a particularly hard mission. At least, it isn’t particularly hard for the units I have. However, there is quite a bit more plot surrounding this one mission than what a supplemental map usually receives.
Here’s the gist:
The ever-present antagonist of the game, Princess Veronica of the Emblian Empire, has teamed up with a mysterious new shape-shifting entity called Loki… Who for now apparently prefers to take the form of Anna.
I’ll just leave the Marvel‘s The Avengers crossover joke here. There’s plenty I could do with it, but it doesn’t quite seem worth the energy right now.
Loki uses Veronica’s assistance to bring forth the Tempest, a magical vortex meant to bring about chaos by… Well… I’ll let Loki (in a different form – because shapeshifting) explain what it is.
Yeah, essentially that. Tearing the worlds of Fire Emblem games apart, slamming them together in screwy, cacophonous ways. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. So on and so forth.
The mission ends with the Tempest opening and a new special hero, Masked Lucina (or Marth, as per her canonical cover when she arrives from the future in Fire Emblem Awakening – though that plot is also plenty complicated to explain so I’ll leave it there), coming forth to help fight off the despair and chaos brought about by the disaster.
And that, in a nutshell, is all you need to know. Worlds are colliding and heroes from all those worlds are coming together to fight against Veronica’s contracted heroes in a series of maps. Or at least, mostly worlds from Fire Emblem Awakening, since you’ll see in a second that the 3DS title is the focus of this particular iteration of the event.
Although the actual method of opening the Tempest is left vague at best, the overarching narrative is admittedly pretty engaging considering it’s mostly just supposed to outline a new challenging game mode in a mobile title.
After all, that’s exactly what all this plot has led up to: The Tempest Trials game mode.
Over the course of two weeks, players can enter the Tempest Trials and put their stamina on the line to take on a number of successive battles, the number being outlined by the difficulty level they choose.
For example, choosing the highest caliber Lunatic difficulty presents a series of seven battles to fight through. These battles, as I teased at before, implement permadeath for the teams chosen to take it on. The damage units take carry over from one battle to the next, and if a unit dies they don’t return to help you for the next stage.
“But Jason, expecting players to take on seven battles with just four heroes is ridiculous,” I hear you saying from behind the comfortably fluorescent screens through which you’re reading this text.
Well, you’re right, and that’s why the difficulty levels also outline the number of teams you’re permitted to use during the particular challenge you’re undertaking. Here’s how it works:
It’s battle number five. You enter the field battered and bruised, your units not quite strong enough to take on the challenge presented. After just a few hits, you lose. Game over. Those four units you started your journey with are permanently dead.
However… They were just Team 1.
Enter Team 2, freshly composed of units that aren’t quite in your A+ squad, but that just so happen to be a great combination in their own right. Now, it’s Team 2 versus the world.
But it would be unfair for the game to throw you back into a challenge without in some way acknowledging that you did your best with the fatigue of successive battling, now wouldn’t it?
That’s why all enemy units start off with slightly less health when you begin to use a new team against them. It’s a small gesture, but an appreciated one. Your Minerva thanks the game developers for implementing such a system as her axe cleaves straight through the Gaius who has slain your first squad with much less trouble.
Maniacal laughter rings out, echoing across the darkened blue walls of your room, upsetting the silent stillness of the Super Mario Galaxy poster set up above your long unused desktop computer.
All is good.
In a fully hypothetical sense, of course.
In all seriousness, at the highest difficulty level, you get four chances. On top of that, the permadeath element only applies to your current run in the Tempest Trials. Once that challenge is over, you get all of your heroes back.
In a free-to-play title where the heroes you have are received through what is essentially a random chance game of color roulette, the merely pseudo-permanent nature of this inevitable death is greatly welcomed.
Personally, I only have enough units to make two good teams with one team of middling strength. So… For me, I basically have two chances to get to the end. Radical.
At the end, you come across Princess Veronica herself, fighting alongside her contracted heroes with all the same overpowered tendencies as she has had in the game’s story mode.
In my few attempts at the Tempest Trials thus far… I have yet to beat this final map. Luckily, the game still rewards you with points even for a loss, and there are two weeks or so for me to figure out the best way to win.
That provides me a nice Segway into the next leg of this journey: The rewards.
Obviously a big challenge event like this can not expect to gain traction without implementing a series of prizes players can receive. If you ask me, the prizes offered up for the Tempest Trials certainly seem to be worth going after.
After each victory or loss in the Tempest Trials, you receive a certain amount of points based on the factors outlined in the lefthand picture above. When you receive a predetermined amount you get a prize like orbs, as seen in the righthand picture above.
While there is a certain economy of scale in that the more points you accumulate the more saturated your prizes will be (more orbs, more crystals, more feathers, etc.), there are some prizes that are clearly what you’re meant to aim for. For example:
A four-star Masked Lucina is the prize at 6,000 points, with a five-star Masked Lucina similarly available at 30,000 points. There are also two sacred seals available at 20,000 points and 50,000 points, with 15 additional orbs available between 50,000 and 99,999 points.
Currently I’m sitting at a solid 400 points based on my cumulative efforts. It’s certainly a long road to trek.
However, it will be all worth it for the new unit. Lucina wearing her Marth mask in Awakening is a pretty big source of my imagined personality preferences for her when I play through the game, so I’m looking forward to having the special, meaningful character in my roster.
But I digress.
Though that’s about all for my coverage of the Tempest Trials as a whole, it’s also worth mentioning that a new summoning focus has come with it.
None of the heroes in this focus are new, but they are all popular characters from Awakening who provide point bonuses if you use them while fighting through the trials. I might not personally spend my accumulated orbs on this, but it is a nice addition.
Alongside starting to do work for my Internship and beating Fire Emblem Echoes, this event should help keep me rather busy for the next couple of weeks. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it. It’s only been out for a few hours, but I essentially stayed up until well past the witching hour to pull this post together, so clearly I quite enjoy the prospects of the event.
How do you feel about the Tempest Trials, if you play Fire Emblem Heroes? Are you excited about the challenge? What games and special characters would you be interested in seeing coming in as prizes in future iterations of the event – assuming they continue to release new versions in the future, of course.
Let me know in the comments below! Because for now, I’m off to get some sleep. The automatic scheduler will take care of putting this out at a more reasonable hour.