Tag: Mobile Games

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

It seems like I’ve really taken that “not planning on posting anything on this blog until after finals” thing to heart, haven’t I? Guess I really can’t bring myself to avoid a couple good Fire Emblem updates.

Though to be fair, two things are different this time around.

Firstly, I’ve actually finished a lot of my work for the final projects and exams I have. The only thing I’ve still got to finish is some work for my internship class, which shouldn’t be that much trouble.

There’s also work for the paper I suppose… But that’s always kind of a different story.

Secondly, this post should be really short. I know I say that a lot, but I’m serious this time around. Just watch, let’s see how quick I can get it out of the way:


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Today is the day that the Children of Fate summoning focus banner has arrived. These heroes have been built up for quite some time now, appearing as a point of attention in the calendar update a few weeks ago and showing up in the Book II story update just a couple days ago.

I enjoyed Fates a lot (besides one majorly terrible thing that kind of ruined the whole experience for me, but that’s a story for another day). One of the things that made Fates as enjoyable experience as it was boiled down to the child characters. The same thing could be said for Awakening too, but in Fates I distinctly remember a bunch of the kids being more memorable.

In fact, my friend and I spent a good amount of time leading up to this update discussing who we believed would be appearing in this banner. I actually wound up calling two out of the four new heroes: Soleil and Shiro.

So, what do these new heroes have to offer?

  • ShiroRaw Talent
    • Ryoma’s son Shiro was a character I imagined would arrive based on the general lack of lance-wielding units amongst Fate’s children cast, and I’m interested seeing that I was right. Even if Shiro wasn’t necessarily my favorite character overall. In Heroes, he comes with a Bright Naginata that grants him +4 attack and defense if the opponent initiates combat, the Swap movement skill, Steady Stance to gain +6 defense when he’s attacked and Defense Tactic, a new skill that grants allies +6 defense if they can only move two or less spaces at a time. There’s something a little off in my head when thinking that they made the character named for his ‘Raw Talent’ focused almost solely on defending rather than attacking. I don’t know, maybe I’m just biased because I don’t really like Shiro all that much, but I just think that Siegbert handles it better. Speaking of…
  • SiegbertFuture King
    • Okay, before I really get into things, I just wanted to say that ‘Future King’ is kind of a lame moniker. There’s seriously half a billion characters in the Fire Emblem universe that this could fit. Hell, related to this banner alone, Shiro could also use the title ‘Future King.’ In fact, Siegbert’s father Xander could technically be called ‘Future King’ as well. He really never becomes the king of Nohr until post-game. It might have fit Siegbert better if it commented on his nerves or fear of the responsibility he’s to inherit. But I digress, onto the character details:
    • Xander’s son Siegbert comes equipped with a Dark Greatsword that grants him +4 attack and speed if he initiates combat. He also has the powerful special attack Dragon Fang, Death Blow and Attack Tactic, which gives his allies +6 attack if they aren’t cavalier units (only 2 or less movement spaces). Frankly, I really like his skill set. Not only is he built like a long-range heavy hitter, but his new passive skill Attack Tactic really fits his character from an inherent, descriptive sense. Much more than I feel like the opposite ability does with Shiro, honestly. I like it, and I wouldn’t be too upset receiving a Siegbert. Even though I’d much rather get…
  • SoleilAdorable Adorer
    • Laslow’s daughter Soleil is probably one of if not my favorite character in Fire Emblem Fates. Or, at least, my favorite child character from Fates. She’s incredible, taking all of the flirtatious, happy-go-lucky attitude of her father (who we’ve gotten to know over two games) and putting it in a much more adorable form that manages to do everything better than he ever could. It’s a beautiful dynamic, and it’s gotten me very excited to pick up a Soleil of my own. But is she worth summoning? Well, she comes with a Firesweep Sword, preventing counterattacks on both sides, the special attack Blazing Wind to cause damage to foes all around whoever Soleil attacks and the passive skills Darting Blow, which grants her +6 speed if she attacks, and Drive Resistance, which grants allies +3 resistance during combat. The Drive Resistance skill is a little out of left field, but everything else makes her sound like a great fast attacker, which is always a good niche to fill.

I would also be remiss to not talk about the other Fates child introduced, even if she showed up the other day. But I didn’t talk about her then, so let’s give Rhajat some time to shine now.

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  • RhajatBlack Magician
    • Hayato’s daughter Rhajat is a character that I honestly didn’t want to see show up in this banner. Or… This split banner, as it were. She, alongside Caeldori and Asugi, were children of Fates characters who were actually retreads of parent characters from Awakening. That whole idea never really sat well with me in the original game, since it just felt like a strange way to shoehorn in old characters compared to just having them be travelers from a different land like Laslow, Odin and Selena. Though I suppose her appearance was predictable considering how much people love Tharja. I know I do, but Rhajat not quite as much. Either way, that shouldn’t take away from her potential usefulness here in-game. She comes with a Keen Gronnwolf green tome, which is effective against calvary, a Rally Attack/Defense movement skill, Distant Defense to grant her +6 defense and resistance when attacked from a distant weapon, and Savage Blow to cause damage to surrounding opponents after she attacks one of them.

I’ll be honest, Rhajat is the least appealing of the four heroes here, in my opinion. Ironic I know, considering she’s the most dramatically sexualized one of the lot (seriously, I joked with my friends that she’s like a pornstar in this version for some reason), but her skill set just doesn’t do it for me. I suppose in a sense that makes it better that she’s separated from the rest in a different banner.

However, that does annoy me quite a bit, as an aside.

Any sensible person seeing the collection of heroes in both of these banners with new characters must have thought the same thing as I did. Why is there one banner with two red units (Soleil and Siegbert) while there could have easily been a swap with Rhajat, making the Fates children banner contain a red, blue and green unit?

Well, the obvious answer to explain this is forcing the pay-to-play model. With two reds on one banner, there’s an increased chance of pulling the unit you don’t want. In my case, for example, I could wind up pulling a Siegbert when I want a Soleil. Though I’d be find with a Siegbert, I would still wholly prefer a Soleil, and might be more tempted to spend money to get more orbs if I lost out on the unit I wanted.

That’s a pretty shitty way to approach things, and you can tell it’s supposed to be the intent when there could have very easily been a split of the red units. Hell, Soleil would have arguably fit just as well in a love-themed Voting Gauntlet slot as Rhajat does, especially since Tharja is there filling the exact same role as is.

I don’t know, it just bugs me to see that greed factor rear its ugly head and remind me that I’m playing a generally unfair RNG-based character draw game.

That said… I have succumb to the enduring challenges of fighting against RNG this time around. Like I’ve said, Soleil is my goal, and I’ve already sunk about 50 stored up orbs into it.

Without much luck.

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Seriously, three Corrins? Come on game. I think I deserve a little better than that.

Oh well, I’ve got about two weeks to get it right, and as far as I can tell there isn’t anything else coming up that’s going to get in the way.


Alright, clocking in this post at… Close to 1,500 words. Still arguably more chatty than I expected to get with it, but much better than usual, I’d say. In fact, 1,500 words is the cap for the reflection I have to write for my internship class. So, if nothing else, this is a good comparison to use for how easy that assignment should hopefully be.

Wait, what’s that? You’re wondering where the story-based portion of this post is?

Well, there is no paralogue for these heroes. Why would there be, they’ve already gotten a chance to appear in the second chapter of Book II.

Sure, they didn’t get a single line of dialogue, and only seemed to be there to serve as a tool for Princess Veronica to throw at you, and they don’t get a paralogue mission to offer players an extra chance to get some orbs so the split banners annoyance can be offset… But it’s fine. These guys didn’t get shafted at all.

Again, I digress. We’d be here all day if I just griped about everything for the rest of eternity. It’s all just a little… Underwhelming. Anticlimactic even, considering how much buid-up there was. Which is how I described this one in my post title.

How do you feel about the new heroes? Were they who you hoped to see? I know theres a few I might have preferred, like Nina or Mitama for example. Though, do you also think the ones we got were shafted too? Let me know in the comments below.

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Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

I’ve begun to think of Fire Emblem Heroes like an interesting sort of social experiment, for a variety of reasons.

From what my friends who live on Reddit tell me, there’s quite a strong creative fanbase built up for the game there. People gather en masse to build character sets up in weird, interesting ways that most might not think of outside the game’s meta.

There are discussions about who’s going to be added whenever new summoning focuses approach, and reactions to those characters when they show up and inevitably get placed on tier lists.

Artwork abounds of characters who not only just appear in skimpy or cute outfits (because let’s be honest it’s a game with an anime aesthetic, so there’s plenty of it), but of characters who have gained relevance solely because they matter in Heroes. Like Reinhardt, who appeared in a currently Japanese-only Fire Emblem game but is now unforgettable as a destroyer of everything in the mobile title.

Probably the most interesting thing about the fanbase for heroes is seeing them deal with the interactions between characters from different games coming together. Never is this more apparent than during Voting Gauntlets, when artwork starts popping up of front-running units beating the crap out of each other. People pick sides and root vehemently for their favorites, only to cry out in disappointment as Intelligent System’s ‘inability to math’ screws them over.



Editor’s Note: For those who don’t know, there’s a meme among members of the Fire Emblem Heroes community making fun of the fact that the point calculations in Voting Gauntlets are screwy, making it so the two sides can be labeled as having the “same score” when the numbers above clearly show that one side is a few million points ahead.

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It’s never not hilarious.



I don’t think of Fire Emblem Heroes as a social experiment because of the community, however. I think of it as one because I’ve never seen a game that’s taken such an interesting shift in story development over such a long period of time.


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When this game came out in February, it started with a rather simple story through ten sets of missions. You, as a summoner of characters from all over the spectrum of Fire Emblem games, traveled with the Order of Heroes to stop an opposing summoner from destroying the homeland of your friends. That was about it, a fairly thin layer of skin over a random number generating summon mechanic clearly designed to make you want to spend money.

But now, about 11 months later, we’ve arrived at the release of Book II, and things are dramatically different.

Most of the extra story chapters and paralogue missions in Book I expanded upon the original premise of the game by taking you to different Fire Emblem worlds to find more heroes that you can throw your orbs against the wall to summon. However, under the surface, there was more being developed, slowly but surely.

Princess Veronica, the leader of the opposing nation, developed a partnership with a mysterious character named Loki who disguised their appearance but hoped to bring their king to Askr to fight the good fight. Prince Bruno, Veronica’s brother, is revealed to be the old ally of the Order of Heroes that provides much of the motivation for Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena. But these developments with the villains are slow to arrive, and give the game a chance to develop its characters over a long period as players become accustomed to them.

Then, Book II takes the story through a rapid paradigm shift.

The new part of the story begins with a cinematic that introduces the overall theme of this leg. New characters, allied with Veronica and clearly fire-themed, take on the Order of Heroes allied with a new character who controls ice. There’s some impressive displays of power, but otherwise it doesn’t tell you a lot.

It also turns out to just be a teaser of sorts, looking at future events as Fire Emblem likes to do. The actual story of Book II begins well before what they show you.

When you arrive at… I’m not even sure I can write the name of this land, so I’ll just say the ice kingdom… When you arrive at the ice kingdom, Alfonse and Sharena remark on the cooling magma that covers the once beautiful farmland they used to visit as children.

The first chapter of Book II pretty much goes on without any other story until the fifth map, when you first run into Princess Fjorm and King Surtr.

The two are dueling, though the fight is clearly lopsided in favor of the king. He leaves after defeating Fjorm, but leaves his assistant Loki in charge of taking care of your team.

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Defeating Loki leads to her retreat, and allows you to bring Fjorm to safety, where she joins your team to help fight against the evil monarch.

Once she’s on your side, you take on chapter 2, where you and your allies chase after Surtr.

It’s mostly a story-less approach (though it introduces a few interesting things that I’ll go into in a bit), besides the beginning and the ending maps.

The first brings you face-to-face with Veronica, now open about her allegiance with the fire kingdom.

She sends new Heroes at you over the next few battles to slow your progress, but eventually you reach the fifth map and encounter the king himself.

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His fight is a timed survival, as special magic makes the armored king invincible. You have to survive six turns against Surtr and his main allies, who all get a proper first introduction here.

If anything, this fight is arguably the representation of the opening cinematic in-game… Though it’s much less exciting than the specially created video, of course.

When you survive long enough, the Order determines that they cannot win and retreat.

Oh also, there’s a prophesy. Because of course there’s a prophesy. Can’t have a big dramatic story without it, apparently.

Minor clichéd gripes aside, that wraps up where Book II ends… For now.

To be completely honest, like I’d mentioned toward the beginning of this, I’m very impressed at how things have developed, and glad I’ve stuck around long enough to see it happen.

Over 11 months, the entirety of the game we’ve seen up to the release of Book II felt like the end-all-be-all of Fire Emblem Heroes. It was a simple game with a simple premise that delighted players by finding a basic way to throw a ton of Fire Emblem characters together.

But now, that entire 11 month developing story just feels like it was a prologue. Expositional, introducing us to the main characters and what they can do and how they interact with one another to build up to the actual chief conflict of the game: This war of fire and ice that everyone gets dragged into.

It’s kind of incredible really, thinking that all of this was likely planned in some capacity from the beginning. Granted, thinking back to a game like Fire Emblem Awakening where halfway through the story you jump ahead a few years and suddenly have a whole new story that’s the true meat of the game, it’s the kind of developmental ‘pulling the wool over one’s eyes’ that the series does frequently.

But Fire Emblem Awakening was one contained product, a single game cartridge with just about all of its main content available at launch.

For Fire Emblem Heroes, developers had to make sure players stuck with their game for almost a year to get the big reveal and find out that everything they’ve seen is just build-up. That’s a crazy feat, but one that really seems to have paid off in the long run.


Though this post was mostly intended to elaborate on why I felt the Book II story is more impressive than others might give it credit for, I did also want to touch on some of the new, interesting thing they added throughout the maps as well.

In chapter 1, there are a two new generic units that fill different archetypes from Fire Emblem games which haven’t gotten any villainous love up to this point.

Manaketes and Wyvern riders are staples of the series all the way back to the original Fire Emblem game with characters like Tiki and Minerva. The fact that they didn’t show up in the enemy armies up to this point was a little odd, though I suppose it becomes a nice and convenient excuse to say that they were added in as units from the fire kingdom who didn’t exist in Emblia.

I can respect that. Waiting long enough that you get a convenient out. Much better than just adding them in randomly a few months later like they were forgotten originally.

However, the generic units really aren’t the highlight of the new units added in. Rather, it’s the heroes that Veronica brings along, teasing the next summoning focus:

Children of characters from Fire Emblem Fates are next on the docket, which is something we knew about from previous calendar updates, but never knew exactly who would be showing up until now.

I’ll keep my thoughts abridged for now, since I’ll probably be more over-the-top and wordy later once the main banner is released… But let’s just say there’s a certain Nohrian girl I’ve got my eyes on.

Even if the way they split the heroes into two banners bugs me.

But again, I’ll save that discussion for next time.


For me, this was part two of my discussion of the Version 2.0.0 update. However, I tried to set it up so you could read them in any order you want, so if you haven’t seen the first part going over mechanical and aesthetic changes, you can look here.

Hopefully you all enjoyed me blathering on for almost 3,000 words on a mobile game once again. There’s going to be more later this week, like I said, but for now I’m going to be taking another break to work on all of my final projects and exam study guides. Gotta love this time of year.

What do you think of the Book II story? Are you as enamored with the idea of the long-term story telling as I am? Or is it just basic enough to keep you invested in the game a bit longer? Let me know in the comments below!

Spooky Scary Summonings

Spooky Scary Summonings

As we quickly approach Halloween, a number of things come to mind for me. Firstly, I can’t help but think about how fast October passed by this year. Honestly it’s just felt like a blink since the Oct. 1 and it’s ridiculous. However, I suppose I can’t complain excessively about that, because I’m also in a place where I’m remembering that Halloween is, frankly, one of my favorite holidays. Perhaps my favorite holiday really.

I always love how the stereotypical aesthetics of Fall mix so brilliantly with the scary and kooky sides of Halloween (Even if we really don’t get that ‘stereotypical’ Fall in California. It was 107 degrees in Fullerton last week, no joke). I love the movies, artwork and other media that characterize the season so wonderfully, everything from Nightmare Before Christmas to – this year – Stranger Things Season 2. Which as of this writing I haven’t finished so I better not see any spoilers around the comments here.

He says knowing all he would do is invite spoilers.

I love candy, I love costumes and have plenty of good memories with both going way, way back to the days when I dressed as Buzz Lightyear in elementary school. Or maybe even preschool? Not totally sure actually, but either way the feeling remains.

Yet, with all this positivity, an unfortunate other fact still comes to mind… The fact that I really don’t have a Halloween. This year, Halloween is Milo day at Cal State Fullerton, and that’s been our life on the Daily Titan for the last few months.

Milo day, or alternatively Miloween as we’ve been calling it around the newsroom. Or Halloqueen as I believe I saw him refer to it as at one point, though I don’t remember where. But a rose by any other name and all that.

Instead of having a fun, costume-filled Halloween, I’ll be all fancy in the press box with reporters from the L.A. Times and other big newspapers hoping our school doesn’t burn down – but prepared to cover it if it does. Though I can’t complain about the opportunity by any means, and I’ll be grateful to the College Republicans club for letting me join that V.I.P. experience, I will admit there’s something that feels empty about the whole thing. Perhaps some element of childhood’s loss in the face of real world responsibilities if I’m looking to be poetic about it.

Though more realistically I think I’m just starting to worry more and more about it as we approach the day of, something I wasn’t really doing a couple months ago when we were just building up to things.

But hey, even if my personal Halloween won’t be very Halloween-y, at least I can live vicariously though other means.

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That’s right, you thought I was going to be strangely existential and sappy for this entire post? No way man, I’m here to talk about some Fire Emblem Heroes Halloween goodness. At least partially as a way to cut that sappy existentialism…

I’ll be totally honest up front with this one, I’m not exactly feeling the whole usual shebang I go through with each update to this game. Partially because of the whole Milo build-up, I’ve been pretty exhausted lately. There’s a few things I’ve been meaning to post about on here, like a story I got published last week and a little mathematical romp I took through Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, but I haven’t gotten around to either of them.

I didn’t want to skip out on this banner entirely however, since I really love Halloween. So instead I just think I’m going to pass on the professionalism this time around but still go ahead with talking about this.

I’ll just take the opportunity to gush about all of the wonderful things this banner brings, and I’ll leave it at that. Because there’s seriously a lot to gush about when you consider –

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Just look at this Sakura like GOD damn she’s got an adorable costume. For real she was always my favorite amongst Corrin’s siblings across both Birthright and Conquest, and the fact that she got this really great costume was part of what made me really excited for this banner.

Plus, she has amazing potential as a mage killer with a weapon that deals super effective damage to all colored mages and a sky high resistance stat. She’s great, I love her, and I’m no doubt going to be spending lots of orbs to get her in my collection if I have to.

Those cat ears man, they really maximize the adorability factor. They even bounce around during battle and… Man, it’s just too good.

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But then we also have the boy Jakob here. I’ll be honest, Jakob is arguably my absolute least favorite character from Fates. His son is great, but getting him through any sort of relationship to end up with Dwyer is a bit of a nightmare because his chemistry with everyone is just… Really bad. I don’t even actually remember who I paired him up with in my run of Revelations, that’s how bad.

His regular Heroes counterpart sort of made up for that since I actually use my 5 star Jakob somewhat regularly… But that counterpart doesn’t even hold a candle to this one.

This guy is basically Frankenstein wielding a bow that has a string made of pure lightning that has heavy armor while being weighed down by golden balls and chains. Just the design alone is bananas, but combine that with the fact that he’s our first armored archer and he gets distinction for being unique as well.

Oh, and he’s also the first Halloween hero I summoned:

That also helps my appreciation for him. Damn he’s looking good.

Also, his quotes are just wonderful. A few of my favorites include:

  • “Believe you me, monsters are not half as ghastly as… People.”
  • “I would gladly serve treats to my liege, Corrin. But to children? The nerve.”

Talk about all sorts of gems hidden away.

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Oh but wait, what’s this? Another armored unit? And this one is an armored mage? That’s crazy!

What’s this again? It’s Henry? The super fun sadistic crow-toting mage from Awakening who’s an absolutely perfect candidate for anything Halloween? Fantastic!

One more time? What did you say? He’s a vampire too? A vampire that carries his coffin around like a shield that shoots out ghosts? Well slap me silly and call me Sally, that’s an A+ character right there.

Wait wait, what’s that? You say there’s someone even better on this special summoning banner? Well you must me joking, how could it possibly get better than Henr-

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Oh. Oh I see.

Nowi here, while undoubtedly being somewhat creepy Loli bait as usual, is still actually incredible. For one… Well, look at her. In the least creepy way imaginable, Nowi dressed up like a witch with the big mage hat is one of the cutest things ever.

She also has a spell book that shoots out ectoplasmic cats to attack enemies. Which is a negligible design detail and all, but it’s still amazing and continues to maximize the adorable meter.

Oh, also, while we’re on the subject of good design from Henry, have I mentioned the fact that Nowi is a pegasus knight? But instead of riding a pegasus she rides on a broomstick. A broomstick. Because she’s a witch. It’s low key absolutely genius character design, and I want her.

Especially since the flying mage archetype will make a perfect addition to my flying units team. Just… Uhh… Don’t pay too much attention to the picture of her in the summoning banner image. Because it kind of makes it hard to advocate for something when it depicts a young-looking girl with a strangely suggestive closeup of a broom between her legs. Just saying, might want to chill there Intelligent Systems.

I’m still going after her of course, but still.

The characters aren’t even the only things that are wonderful about this banner, though.

Seriously look at these level designs:

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I don’t have all that much to say about the Paralogue itself, since it just boils down to the Order of Heroes enjoying the Harvest Festival with dressed up heroes all hoping to win a year’s supply of pumpkins.

Which makes sense… I suppose? Not that I’ve been able to figure out how you can keep pumpkins fresh for a whole year.

But that’s besides the point because look at all the spook. Just glowing jack-o’-lanterns and spooky gothic architecture everywhere. It’s amazing.

Have I mentioned I really love Halloween? Because I do.

That’s not even all though, because the artwork for the battle backgrounds is somehow even better!

Just… Just look at how pretty this is. I can’t even say anything more than the fact that I love how pretty it all is. I’m genuinely at a loss for words right now, I’m living out all of my Halloween in these levels right now it feels like.

Though part of that could also be me being exhausted, like I mentioned before…

In fact, I might as well cut things off here. Everything I’ve gushed about is all that the game has added in, so there isn’t anything more to say honestly. I’m just going to let everyone look at and appreciate the wonderful artwork in this game, because seriously the artwork is one thing that keeps me coming back for more.

That and the rush of dopamine that I’m sure comes with each newly collected orb and summoned hero. Gambling is a scary, scary thing. Luckily I’ve found an outlet for that sin that’s less… Destructive than it could be.

Okay, but for real it’s definitely time for bed. I need some rest if I’m going to be ready for Milo coming very, very soon. Perhaps I’ll try to catch up on those posts I missed after I’m a little more relaxed and freed from my inhibitions after his visit.

Until then, I also did intend this to be a test of a potentially shorter way to make Fire Emblem Heroes posts. Or at least, more shortly produced posts. Since somehow this still wound up being 1,700 words or so. If you enjoy this format better than usual, let me know in the comments below!

I might not be used to the more informal free-flowing thought process this comes with, but I’m sure I can get used to it if it’s popular.

Fire Emblem Heroes: Genealogy of the characters I don’t know

Fire Emblem Heroes: Genealogy of the characters I don’t know

I think the title of this one basically says all that needs to be said.

Hey everybody, welcome to another long-winded Fire Emblem Heroes update post here on Jason’s blog. Normally I’d start off this kind of post with a whimsical affirmation that things definitely won’t be as relentlessly wordy as before… But considering how many times that particular mindset has backfired in hindsight, I’m just going to skip over all that and go straight into the meat of things.

That cool with all of you? I sure hope so, because when I’m typing this I’m literally the only person that can answer that question.

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Today’s update brings us heroes from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. As a Japanese-exclusive title in any official release, I haven’t personally played the game in any capacity, since I don’t tend to play with emulators all that often. Hell, I haven’t even seen any let’s plays of this game floating around in any of my usual Youtube channels.

Because of that, I have no experience with any of the characters in the game and no personal connections whatsoever. The best I could figure just from the initial teaser video was that two of the characters seemed to be related to two heroes we already have in the mobile game, but even then they’re units I’ve never used.

So that was a load of help.

As there’s only three of them, at least it makes it easier on me to do some basic research so I can pull together these small character bios like I enjoy to do.

  • TailtiuThunder Noble
    • A noble from the House Friege, where the greatly abused powerhouse Reinhardt and his sister Olwen also hail, Tailtiu is a bubbly girl known for her protective personality and strong thunder magic. Really that’s about all the wiki expands upon for the most part, aside from a horrifically tragic part of her life where she endures torture and depression to protect her young children, only to die from said depression and torture. Yeah, that’s one of the most definitive portions of her story arc. I’m actually getting sad and emotional over this character I don’t know at all because of it, too. I suppose if nothing else that encourages me to go after her when I start summoning on this banner, despite the fact that her initial build is a little ‘meh’ just looking at the list. Blarblade is always great for accumulating extra damage with more stat buffs, but otherwise everything else is basic stat-related stuff: +2 attack and resistance, rallying +3 speed and resistance on an ally and grinding +3 speed to nearby allies during combat. If nothing else, seems like she’ll be helpful in letting her teammates attack twice more often.
  • DeirdreLady of the Forest
    • Deirdre is a women from the Spirit Forest with the holy blood of the dragon Naga and a curiosity for the outside world after an isolated upbringing. She comes to marry Sigurd, with whom she conceives Seliph, and after her husband’s death she begets Julia and Julius with a man named Arvis. Her weapon, Divine Naga, stands out much like her daughter Julia’s as a green tome effective against dragons that also nullifies stat bonuses from certain skills during combat. With the popularity of teams themed around things like cavalry units, this is a pretty useful weapon to have around. She also comes with the somewhat situational Ardent Sacrifice, Quick Riposte to make automatic follow-ups and Speed Ploy to lower the speed of units in cardinal directions with lower resistance than she has.
  • SigurdHoly Knight
    • Apparently the protagonist for the first generation story in Genealogy of the Holy War, Sigurd is a mounted lord that uses swords and lances. He has quite literally a billion relatives, though the most notable ones here for this description are his wife Deirdre and son Seliph, who has to clear his father’s name after he’s killed and labeled a traitor. Sigurd uses the legendary Divine Tyrfing, a sword that grants him +3 resistance and makes it so he receives half damage from every first magic attack used against him. Like the Brave Heroes Lyn and Ike, he also comes with four extra skills rather than three: His special skill is Miracle, which lets him survive a lethal attack, he has Close Defense to give him +6 defense and resistance when attacked by a close range weapon, he has Speed Smoke to inflict -7 speed on enemies within 2 spaces of each attack he deals and finally he has a new ability called Crusader’s Ward that reduces damage from the second attack onward by 80 percent if attacked from two spaces away. From what I understand, word is going around that Sigurd could be a perfect anti-meta unit by essentially nullifying most damage from magic attacks all together… And I can’t argue that this sounds pretty overpowered. I’ll look forward to seeing it in action.

One thing I’ve come to find from researching these three is that Genealogy apparently had an absurdly huge cast of characters that intertwined in a billion different ways. I’ll be honest, for this being such an older game in the series, I’m pretty impressed. It apparently featured a multi-generational split story system, which is something I believed was a more recent phenomenon.

Even if 99 percent of what I read also suggested that this entire game is just a deep dive into depressing character arcs… I’m still impressed.

Frankly, reading about Tailtiu made me really, REALLY feel for her character, and it makes me want to summon and use her in combat. On top of that, Sigurd does seem like he’ll shake things up quite aggressively and Deirdre could be pretty fun with that special Divine Naga tome. All three seem pretty worth summoning, so I’ll probably work at getting at least one of them now that I’m done torturing myself trying to summon Performance Arts Olivia.


Editor’s Note: 

For context: I got to about a 4.75 percent chance of finding a 5 star in the Performance Arts summoning focus banner, and during the first round of summoning that I didn’t have a colorless orb to choose from, Inigo broke my streak of trying to find his mother Olivia.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Inigo so I’m not that mad… But it did suck that all of that effort to aim for one unit wound up getting blown away in an instant.


Editor’s Note Part 2: 

So this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I’m going to have to put another aside here because… Well…

Turns out my decision to stop summoning on the Performance banner was actually a good idea.

Seriously this was not at all what I expected to happen, but I drew Sigurd on my second orb – with the first orb being a freebie to begin with. It’s quite possibly the quickest, luckiest unit grab I’ve ever gotten, and luckily it seems to be with the guy who will probably be the most powerful of the bunch.

I’m going to take it as a good sign and keep summoning for a while to hopefully get Tailtiu. Wish me luck!


As far as additional story goes with these new characters, most of the underlying stuff is par for the course. Three Paralogue levels, three difficulty settings and some extra missions to give players a total of 12 orbs to obtain.

When you get into the actual story itself, it seems as though Intelligent Systems is using this Paralogue to begin building up to whatever large-scale event they have coming down the line. Though… At first things certainly don’t seem that way.

The arc begins with Veronica commanding an armored knight, Arden, to come fight alongside our main man Sigurd.

Once you make it through the fight, Arden is let go and gears quickly shift over to round 2, where there’s more of a surprise visitor making an appearance.

That’s right, the evil shapeshifting trickster god Loki, who some time ago decided to masquerade as Anna for some reason, is taking more of a front line approach by helping Veronica command units to go to battle.

Though, by commanding them, I suppose I should say blackmailing them.

Yeah… There tends to be a pretty big dichotomy between some units happily helping the bad guys while others need to be forced in some way. Like promising to send them home only if they fight and win. Which is pretty scummy, let’s be honest.

But anyway, after battling against Ayra and Tailtiu, you move on to the final encounter. Before getting there however, things once again shift pretty dramatically into a much more suddenly emotional bit of character development.

This game was already playing the “villains aren’t actually so bad because things are going on beyond their control” card by developing Prince Bruno/Zacharias’ backstory as much as it has been the last few story missions, but it’s easy to tell that we’re really banking on the sympathy to hit hard this time around given how Veronica sounds more like a confused child than ever before.

Oh, and there’s the whole evil trickster god influence underlying everything as well, but we’ll actually get into that in a minute.

First things first, Veronica is somewhat consoled by Deirdre, who seems to share the same pain as one with divine blood.

While things are perhaps being laid on a little thick for my tastes, I can always appreciate taking that humanizing approach to a character who seemed so utterly ruthless at one point or another. Though I will credit my boy Seth from Sacred Stones for getting that train rolling, because I’m sure he deserves is.

Once the final fight is out of the way, you’re once again treated to what is essentially a ‘congratulations’ screen as Sigurd and Deirdre thank you for freeing them from the contract and letting them go off to be happy together forever. So on and so forth. Nothing we’ve never seen before, honestly.

But then there’s something like a post-credits scene hinting at more to come:

Whatever the developers have been building up to for some time now, it seems we’re finally getting to a point where all of these plot threads are going to reveal what they’ve been leading up to. Loki appears to quite literally be opening the way to Asgard, looking to bring an army to the world of Askr to destroy it. Or just to destroy everything. Who knows, really.

The whole thing is frankly a hell of a lot more like an actual Marvel end credit scene than I think anyone was intending, but you won’t see me complaining.

I’m honestly really looking forward to seeing whatever comes out of this, and it makes me glad that I didn’t succumb to that slump I was feeling a few weeks back that almost had me drop the game for a while.

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Once again, my lack of experience with the original game doesn’t give me much to talk about as far as remembering what locales these little maps are mimicking or even having some sort of a nostalgia trip over the music. On top of that, I’d argue these maps were some of the easiest to blow through and earn all the available orbs in my recent memory.

But I did want to bring up the maps as a separate idea because I thought it was  interesting that, once again, a few of the maps introduce us to more characters we’re going to see become relevant in the near future:

As these two are not a part of the summoning focus, that begs the question of whether we’re going to see them show up in some sort of a Grand Hero Battle, or whether we should be expecting a new Tempest Trials sometime soon with a Genealogy theme.

I suppose only time will tell… But if I were a betting man, I’d vote for the latter.


Well, that should do it for now I think, seems as though I’ve bled this particular topic thread dry. And this time I came in at… Approximately 2,000 words.

Perhaps jinxing myself at the beginning of the post wasn’t the problem. Perhaps I’m just pathetic and compulsively write too much about everything. Hell, I wrote a 900 word story about the Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga remake for my school paper just today, and that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the extended version I’m planning on posting around here soon.

But I digress, since obviously going off on small rambling fits like this is exactly how I get to be this long-winded in the first place. Hopefully you all enjoyed my thoughts and observations no matter how long they were!

Do you have a favorite hero in this summoning focus? Have you had the opportunity to play Genealogy of the Holy War? Is it worth putting in some effort to find and either play or watch? Let me know in the comments below!

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 1.8: Forging with Dragons

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 1.8: Forging with Dragons

Luckily for my sudden onset of insomnia tonight, it seems I have a new distraction to mull over beyond Superstar Saga. And writing overly long diatribes about Superstar Saga that I’m going to have to cut down to a more manageable form for a general newspaper audience.

Seriously, Sarah, if you wind up reading this… I’m sorry that I might wind up being more of a pain than I’m worth for the next couple of days with that review article.

But this isn’t the place for pre-emptive apologies. That can come at the end of this post. As the title suggests, we’ve got some Fire Emblem to discuss.

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This morning, Intelligent Systems has graced the world with an update to Fire Emblem Heroes, bringing us into the 1.8 version of the game. Thankfully, there isn’t a hell of a lot to this big update like there was with the last few, so I hopefully won’t be hating myself when I have to get up later.

The major addition with this update is a little feature we’ve been waiting on for quite some time: Seal Forging.

Now, for those of you who are uninitiated in the unending and relentless cult of Fire Emblem Heroes, Sacred Seals are items you can equip to your units that allow them to utilize a fourth passive skill on top of the “A,” “B” and “C” level skills they can be summoned with or inherit.

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These Sacred Seals can make a number of new possibilities open up for unit building and team composition overall. A few of my personal favorite examples include giving a unit like Reinhardt the “Quickened Pulse” seal that allows his special attack to pop off more often or giving a unit like Eirika a seal like “Fortify Resistance” so she can passively buff an additional stat for her allies at the start of a turn.

We’ve had a number of means of unlocking these Sacred Seals in the past, most notably through special Sacred Seal missions that cycle through on occasion, as rewards for completing Squad Assault challenges and as tier rewards during Tempest Trials:

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“Distant Defense” was a particularly good one out of the Tempest Trials category, as was “Quickened Pulse.”

The issue many players have had with these seals is that most have been stuck at a basic level 1 status, with no sign of additional level 2 or 3 variants being released anytime soon.

Enter: Seal Forging.

Though to allow Seal Forging to enter the conversation, we do have to take a step back. You don’t just get the ability to forge Sacred Seals right away, after all.

Thus, enter a new Intermission mission that players can unlock after they defeat Chapter 13 in the main story of the game.

 

Strangely enough this Intermission is the first of its kind and seems somewhat out of place as a result of being only one mission with no additional associated quests. The developers do make this strange addition make sense in the context of the story’s plot, however.

If you don’t remember what happened last time in the ongoing Fire Emblem Heroes saga, you can see me ramble about it in my post about the Crimean heroes some time back. If that’s a ‘too long, didn’t read’ kind of situation for you, then here’s the basics:

The Order of Heroes’ old ally Zacharias turns out to be their new enemy Prince Bruno, who fights against them because his bloodline makes him have an insatiable bloodlust because of something something evil dragon magic, so on and so forth in that classic Fire Emblem flavor. However, he revealed at that point that he still cares about his friends in the Order, and wants to help them help him so he can be friends with them again.

That’s the brief blurb about it, anyway.

This Intermission kicks off just about directly after that happened, when Anna leads the team to an ancient ruin called the Eternal Sanctum after Zacharias told her they could unlock more of their power there.

 

You go, you conquer, and at the end of the mission the team finds instructions for the Seal Forging ritual, which the team takes back home and unlocks for the player’s future use.

Really it’s as simple as that, even though I made it much more wordy than it had to be.

Once you unlock the option to forge Sacred Seals, you gain two abilities: Creation and Enhancement.

 

These options do exactly what you’d expect just off the names alone.

  • Creation mode: As the name suggests, allows a player to create a brand new Sacred seal that they do not already have. Currently there are only a few options with the “Spur” skills and brand new “Deflect” skills, with the latter being more expensive than the prior to create.
  • Enhancement mode: Again, as the name suggests, allows a player to boost the power of an enumerated Sacred Seal they already own. With this, “Breath of Life 1” can grow to eventually become “Breath of Life 3,” providing all the benefits of a third level skill as an add-on to a hero.

Both of these abilities take Sacred Coins, an item you receive as rewards for getting good rankings in the Arena Assault mode. Before now these items were completely useless and just taking up space, so I’m glad they can now be used for something.

Though, because I never took them seriously, I never actually spent a lot of effort earning them… So looks like I’ll have to take Arena Assault mode a bit more seriously from here on out. They are also adding them as rewards in other places like quests and through Tempest Trials from here on out, so that’s definitely a plus!

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Remember this image, it’s going to be relevant again later in this post.

That’s really about all there is to say about Sacred Seal forging at this point. All and all I’d say it’s a quite welcomed addition as a means of making units more powerful for both casual and Arena play. Plus, it fills in some knowledge gaps as far as letting us know what certain things do that previously had no purpose, so it’s satisfying in that regard.

Yet, I wouldn’t argue I’m personally blown away by this part of the update. It’s definitely nice, but I’m not enough of an Arena junkie to feel like I’ll get an exorbitant amount of use out of the system outside of an underlying drive to collect everything.

I can probably blame Pokémon for that one now that I’m thinking about it… But that’s another story.


Seal forging isn’t the only thing that was added in Version 1.8. It was certainly the biggest thing that was added, but there are a number of more minor aesthetic and mechanical adjustments that are actually wonderful additions in terms of making the entire user experience with Fire Emblem Heroes more smooth.

There are three other changes that the game felt were important enough to spell out in more detail as a part of this update, so I figure I’ll break them down the same way.

Changing Teams

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Now this is a change I can get behind. When playing Fire Emblem Heroes, I’m a huge culprit of the ‘look at a mission, then change teams up to fit said mission’ phenomenon. If that is, in fact, a phenomenon most players encounter.

Either way, the inconvenience of this issue is now a thing of the past. Instead of having to jump through seemingly 20 different pages to go from the entrance of a mission to the team editing screen, you can now go to team editing right away thanks to an extra button just at the bottom of the confirmation screen.

As you’ll see again with the other two things here, this change is all about convenience for the player, as just the fact that it was added at all leads me to believe other players had just as much to groan about as I did in regards to how long it took to get to the editing teams menu.

So good on you for listening to that bellyaching and turning it into constructive criticism, Intelligent Systems. I certainly know I appreciate the change.

Quick Questing

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See, I told you this particular image would be relevant again.

Much like going to the team editing screen from a battle confirmation screen was a pain, so was going from a battle confirmation screen to the menu showing off whatever quests and missions you had available. If you were trying to accomplish a mission with a certain goal on a certain level, flipping through those screens was almost a necessity.

Luckily, thanks to Version 1.8’s push for convenience, that problem is also a thing of the past.

Now when you’re looking at missions you can go directly to wherever that mission is relevant for. Need to beat the Training Tower’s Tenth Stratum another six times? Well, here’s a button to go straight there. Plus, it works in reverse, which means you can go from the battle confirmation screen to the quests and missions tab and vice versa. Way cool.

However, I think my favorite part of this change is that it also added these:

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Markers showing off which options include mission-specific things you can complete is honestly incredible. It again removes the need to flip between two pages to pick up on the information you need, but in a much more streamlined way.

I would probably argue this addition is my favorite part of this entire update, just because it’s exactly the sort of thing I’ve been internally asking for since the day the game came out.

Easy Auto-Battle

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The option is actually here in the bottom right-hand corner (^^^), in case you missed it.

With this one, what you see is what you get. Now there’s a more convenient button available (if you turn it on in your settings menu) to turn auto-battling on and off. During a game mode where you have to fight multiple teams in succession, this also keeps it on across multiple battles.

Simple convenience is the name of the game here, folks. Not too much to say, but the effort to improve the user experience is cool to see seeping through every inch of this game as time goes on.

Beyond those three, a number of other things were done that I figure are best left up to the concise words bestowed by in-game text:

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  • I haven’t played a lot with character supports beyond doing it for some stat buffs between my calvary units as a test run, but I guess it’s nice to see a more concise list of the benefits it provides right from the Support Rank icon. Don’t have much to say beyond that, however.
  • Voting Gauntlets don’t happen that often, and an aesthetic change as small as darkening out the members of a team you have selected other than the one that will appear in the Gauntlet is definitely more of an unnoticeable change unless you’ve been playing this game as long as I have. While I did notice this before even reading it in the change log, I’ll say pretty bluntly that it doesn’t change my life much at all.
  • Seeing every item you collect when using the “Accept All” option is a change that is arguably negligible enough to not have to be there at all, but I will admit there is something nice about getting a complete breakdown of what you’ll be earning should you be accepting items strewn across multiple mission and quest lines.
  • Gotta love bug fixes.

While that’s everything new with Version 1.8, I also figured it would be worth bringing up the new Voting Gauntlet that started today, if for no other reason than to look back at this when it’s over and lament whatever choices I’ve made in the here and now.

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The theme for this gauntlet is “The Blood of Dragons,” which pits Manakete against Manakete in a battle of the ancient bloodlines.

Not much has changed with this version in regards to the Voting Gauntlet system, other than the fact that supposedly adjustments were made in determining which army is stronger or weaker (which I really hope isn’t an actual fix considering what a meme it has become amongst my friends to send pictures of billion or trillion point differences in scores that read in-game as being the “same” as one another).

Though mechanically things are the same, there are some different rewards this time around for putting in the time to play:

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Take three – Possibly my most prominently used photo in any post ever just from this one alone.

Like I mentioned before in the Sacred Seals forging portion, now Sacred Coins have been added as rewards for completing Gauntlet-related quests. Between those and orbs, there are a growing number of incentives to participate as time goes on.

Personally, I’ll be participating on the side of young Tiki. She was one of my first five star units ever summoned, so there’s sentimental value there, and I also happen to adore her unrequited love for Marth in the canon of the games in which she appears.

I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, okay? Sue me.

If Tiki fails I’ll probably jump on the Nowi train since I get the feeling she has a strong chance of winning… But that’s a bridge we’ll have to cross when we get there. For now, I’ll just keep focused on supporting my girl as far as she’ll go.


Well, that about does it for another unnecessarily huge Fire Emblem Heroes post.

Seriously this was another relatively small update that I managed to turn into a 2,200 word post. How I do that is beyond me, but I sure hope that it clears out whatever issues I have backed up in my psyche in one way or another.

If you stuck with me so far, then thank you. As a reward, I’ll treat you with this: My favorite picture out of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga so far.

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Nothing like a good old game of Donkey Kong to really bring the world together.

It’s either this one or blowing up the fat skeleton in the shipwrecked S.S. Chuckola, but that also requires some extra explanation to truly appreciate the fatso jokes, so… Yeah. For another time.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m actually working on an article for the Daily Titan reviewing the Superstar Saga remake, so expect to see that by the end of the week. In fact, I have far more to say about the game than I’ll ever be allowed to publish, even if it’s probably going online-only, so expect to see an unabridged version of that review here on the blog not too long after.

Until then, let me know what you think of Sacred Seal forging and the other small changes from this update in the comments below!

If nothing else, I know messing with some of this stuff is going to be a wonderful distraction from having to study for my statistics exam this week. Seriously not looking forward to that.

A song of Awakening and Fates

A song of Awakening and Fates

My last post about Fire Emblem Heroes was pretty negative honestly. I talked all about how tired I felt I was getting seeing things like Tempest Trials show up over and over, burning me out more each time without a substantial break in between.

However… This new banner of special heroes brought me right back from the brink of despair.

I’m not even overemphasizing things that much. Two nights ago when the trailer dropped showing off these four new units, I watched the video at least five times while sitting in the newsroom, waiting for corrections to come back on front page. I was excited to see who was added, I liked the look they were going for and I REALLY liked the music that went with the trailer – though I’ll get more into that later.

Hell, I was so excited about these heroes that even in the midst of a super exciting update to Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links with a billion giveaways to celebrate the launch of a GX-themed world, I still found myself thinking about Fire Emblem. Waiting impatiently for the update.

Now that it’s here, was it worth the wait?

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Though everyone was expecting some sort of a Halloween-themed update to coincide with the beginning of October, instead we got a summoning banner themed around dancing and singing, featuring characters who do those things from Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. Namely:

  • AzuraLady of Ballads
    • Dressed like she is during her special musical number in the Conquest route of Fates, Azura’s performer ensemble is an interesting departure from the norm in that she comes as an axe-wielder rather than a lance-wielder… Though she generally serves the same niche as her original counterpart. Her special axe Udor (with some weird accent over the ‘o’ that I can’t even start to imagine how to recreate) makes it so anyone she sings for also gains +3 to every stat. Frankly, that’s a crazy buff. She also comes with Triangle Adept to help take out other lances and a passive buff to ally resistance stats during combat, but I would argue the special axe overshadows everything else.
  • InigoIndigo Dancer
    • Clearly somewhat over his stage fright, Inigo is here in his pre-Laslow standing. Rather than coming in as a mercenary like we might expect, however, he’s fully embraced his dancing spirit and… Is a green mage. I’ll be honest, the green mage thing threw me off when I first saw it, but his Dancer’s Ring has the Breath of Life skill built in, so it’s pretty cool. I can’t complain about it, at least. He can also dance for allies and provide them +4 speed if he does, with a turn start buff to attack for adjacent allies as well.
  • OliviaFestival Dancer
    • Inigo’s mother Olivia is also making an appearance, wearing an outfit that’s as revealing as ever but comes with a super nice dark color scheme – I think it’s really nice, at least. Instead of bringing a sword for protection, she carries a weapon called the Dancer’s Fan: A colorless dagger that has a Breath of Life skill built in similar to Inigo’s weapon while also causing a -7 defense and resistance affliction to opponents. Seriously, if you like Inigo’s weapon, this one is above and beyond that, even if it trades off some power and has a physical rather than a magical attribute. She also grants +4 attack with her dance and has Distant Defense, a skill which adds defense and resistance during combat if she’s attacked from afar – something you’ll likely see often with a dagger weapon.
  • ShigureDark Sky Singer
    • Azura’s son Shigure makes his first appearance in Fire Emblem Heroes, but comes in as a blue tome mage rather than a lance-wielding pegasus knight as he is in Fates. Though Shigure was admittedly never really my favorite child unit, it’s nice to see him appear, and the outfit he has to match Azura’s is quite pretty in its own right. His weapon, the Dancer’s Score, is essentially a blue version of Inigo’s Dancer’s Ring. On top of that, he grants +4 to a unit’s defense and resistance stats when he sings for them… Though his final skill only provides SP buffs to other blue tome users on your team. Probably useful for training, but not at all for combat.

From a purely mechanical standing, I love how each of these units come with skills that give their singing or dancing extra utility. I haven’t used a unit with an ability that lets units take a second turn, so the idea of finally getting the chance to do so with whatever extra benefits are brought about is exciting.

Though I also have to say that I think my favorite thing about the specific selection of characters for this banner is the fact that they went with a sweet Mother/Son dynamic with the singing and dancing duets. They do address it somewhat in the story for the paralogue, but just as an idea I think it’s a great little connection that I wouldn’t have thought to pull together until I saw it.

Plus, Inigo and Shigure are both technically brand new characters if you don’t count Laslow. They’re child characters too, which gives me some more hope of seeing some of my other favorite child characters from Awakening and Fates in the future.

Given my excitement for these heroes appearing, I prepared myself for the inevitable orb binge. Things have been storing up for a while, since I got everyone I wanted out of the Crimean Heroes banner a few weeks ago in fact, so that extra buffer finally had its chance to be useful.

It became a little event for me in fact, and as you can see from all of these summon pictures:

 

It was a big bust in the end. Up around 80 orbs more or less down the drain without anything to show for it. I didn’t quite blow everything as you can obviously see from the last image in the set above, but I’m generally not a fan of summoning when I have less than 20 orbs on-hand at least. That way I’m not screwed over if I happen to get five colored summoning choices I want to take on at once.

So, in the unfortunate melancholy of my failure to summon any of the performance heroes, I decided to jump over and see the paralogue for this special banner.

Even from the very beginning, this particular bit of story doesn’t go out of it’s way to distinguish itself as anything beyond filler for the sake of introducing cool alternate costumed characters.

There’s a bit of a joking air at the start as Anna sings Azura’s song, Lost in Thoughts All Alone (more or less the theme song of Fire Emblem Fates as a whole, for that matter). However, not much time is devoted to that before things go right down to business:

Get going you do, and as a result you find yourself in the grand canal-flooded opera house in Cyrkensia from Fire Emblem Fates, arguably one of the game’s most significant and popular locations.

Each of the three maps has you fighting at a different location within the Opera House, which frankly does make sense considering the sheer size of the place in the original game:

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Image courtesy of gamerguides.com

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The actual fights on the maps aren’t particularly challenging in my opinion, though having to deal with 2 to 4 units that can all sing or dance to allow their partner a second opportunity to act is a bit of a pain for sure.

Arguably the biggest boon to these maps are how they look. Not only are things inherently interesting considering the special character outfits, but the setting makes for an aesthetically beautiful set piece both in and out of the battle screen.

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Little in-game Azura singing her heart out. Gotta love it.

However, no matter how nice these maps look and how much I enjoy the characters talking within them, in my opinion there is at least one majorly glaring issue with the new content.

Why is there no special music for the special banner about the performing arts?

That whole thing seems counterintuitive to me, honestly. As a matter of fact, I might even go so far as to say the lack of special music is a rather huge detriment to the update as a whole. It took away quite a bit of my initial hype to hear old music show up again for the three battles in the Opera House.

The idea is especially poignant because a really dope song was already used in the announcement trailer that doesn’t get any play here in Heroes proper. It’s honestly perfect, and I was listening to this video over-and-over for parts of the day leading in just so I could keep hearing the remix.

Don’t want to dwell too much on that however, as music issues aside there isn’t a lot of substance to go over in the story itself either. Each of the three maps starts with a small introduction to the characters that are going to be the focus in that fight, as you’d probably expect.

The first map has Inigo and Azura running into one another, with Inigo having to break away from his desire to hit on such a beautiful lady so they can stop you.

Why are they stopping you? Well… They think you’re intruding on the sanctity of the stage they’re performing on? I guess?

The motivations are a little weirdly specific this time around, I’ll be honest. Though props to the reference of Azura knowing Laslow, who is Inigo taking on a different name at some point the future.

The second map features Olivia and Shigure in a different part of the Opera House, more or less encountering your team under the same mysterious pretense that Azura and Inigo did.

Then finally, the third map features the two groups coming together to fight, dividing into Mother/Son combos of dancers and singers.

Interestingly enough, this part of the paralogue was the most interesting to me because it takes a small detour to delve into lore and character building for this dark-cloaked Azura.

It’s just interesting to me that they decide to talk about the implications of the story in Fates, messing with time by having Shigure appear to be from some canonical timeline that Azura has disappeared in while this special Azura is apparently from some other continuity. I suppose if it’s a subject they can mess with anywhere, Heroes is a good place to do so considering it’s predicated on the idea of drawing characters out from various timelines and dimensions or what have you, but it still seems to be a complicated thing to add just in the middle of another thing going on.

It’s also a little unbalanced in my head to see Inigo and Olivia have a happy little reunion while Shigure and Azura’s interactions are more seeped in sadness and angst… But at the same time that probably fits the characters we’re looking at pretty well. So who am I to complain?

Beyond that side note about Azura, however, there isn’t much else to talk about in regards to story. After you beat the four performers, they acknowledge they were wrong and offer to help you if you summon them later… But it just ends there. No extra banter from the Order of Heroes characters or anything. Just a one-and-done sort of deal.

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Whether it was “kind” to come in and beat everyone up until they came to their senses is an argument we’ve yet to have extensively, but it’s a nice sentiment to end on either way.

The romp through Cyrkensia may have been overall uneventful, more of a filler ark like I said before, and the lack of special music continues to baffle me… But in the end it serves it’s overall purpose well.

That purpose being offering opportunity to earn extra orbs.

I decided to use those extra orbs I earned from the story missions for one last attempt at summoning. An attempt that had…

Very unexpected results. But certainly not results I’m interested in complaining about.

Got me a special Azura, baby!

With this special Azura comes a special personal distinction in that I’ve never had a good dancing/singing unit before to support my team with double action turns. Now I do, and although I’ve been finding that Azura might be a little too much of a glass cannon for my tastes, I’m still excited to make good use of her.

… Though I also won’t stop trying to get some of the others over the next month. Grinding the Tempest Trials out to the end will net me some extra chances to summon, and in particular I’m looking out for Olivia at this point. A good colorless is something that’s far more widely applicable.

But I digress, since beggars can’t be choosers and all that.

After all, it’s time for me to go get some more orbs and get my GX on. Don’t know whether I want to write a post about the GX world coming since I’ve already basically blown through all the first-time impressions… But I suppose if you’re interested in seeing that, let me know in the comments below.

In fact, if you have any opinions on the performing arts heroes, let me know that in the comments too!

Ike’s Tempest Trials: Too par for the course?

Ike’s Tempest Trials: Too par for the course?

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.



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Coming about a week or two after the Blazing Blade-themed Tempest Trials Mini is a brand new set of trials based in the world of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Besides this new world of emphasis, however, Moment of Fate doesn’t provide too much that’s novel in its own right, as I mentioned before.

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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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?

Let me know in the comments down below!

A Radiant Fire Emblem Heroes update

A Radiant Fire Emblem Heroes update

As I’ve come to find, there’s never a better opportunity to be productive with some Fire Emblem than when you’re just sitting around biding time.

Unlike most of my Heroes update posts, this one is not being written during the witching hours between midnight and 3 a.m. Though it feels a little wrong in that sense and the post itself won’t go out at my usual early-ish morning time, I can’t really complain about feeling a little bit more well-rested as I talk about these new heroes:

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It seems a bit strange that a more substantial update like this got a banner with only three heroes, but from the perspective of trying to summon them all I suppose it’s hard to argue with a little more ease in that department.

I’m sure I’ve brought this up in the past, but the Radiant games (Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance respectively) are part of the legendary RPG series’ history that I personally haven’t touched. While I don’t really have much of a personal connection with the three new heroes that were added as a result, I do still have some first impressions I can give.

  • ElinciaLost Princess
    • Princess and, from what I understand, later queen of Crimea. Elincia is a Pegasus knight who uses a sword called Amiti that reduces her speed in exchange for attacking twice when she initiates combat (though with less of a reduction than an average brave weapon). She has Ardent Sacrifice as a passive skill to heal her allies, Death Blow to boost her attack by 6 as a way of making up for her sword’s low base power and a new skill called Flier Formation which seems to work like a reverse of Tana’s skill, allowing her to teleport to nearby flying units.
  • OscarAgile Horseman
    • A cavalier from Crimea who joined Ike’s Greil Mercenaries and is apparently known for his speed. Out of everyone here, I would argue Oscar carries the least amount go gravitas in terms of what he gets out of the box. A Sapphire Lance makes him capable enough as a weapon-triangle abuser, he can grant +3 speed and defense with his assist ability, he has Lancebreaker to combat other lance users and he grants an extra passive +3 Speed and Defense boost to adjacent units during combat. An interesting and worthy set of buffs, but nothing that seems too mind-blowing.
  • NepheneeFierce Halberdier
    • Coming in with arguably the strangest name of the bunch is Nephenee, a commoner from Crimea who still seems to carry somewhat of a drawl from her native home despite trying her best to talk more in-line with the royalty under which she serves. As an infantry unit, Nephenee comes with a Slaying Lance to lower the special cooldown of her Moonbow special attack (quite the deadly combination, I might add), a +2 attack/speed boost  and a new skill called Wrath that accelerates special cooldown more and boosts the power of a special attack when she’s below 75% health. If her stat spread is good, she’s probably going to have incredible damage output.

Elincia has stood out to me most thus far, as a sword-wielding Pegasus knight is something I’m still looking to add to my flying unit team alongside Minerva and Cordelia. Plus it’s cute that her Pegasus has a unicorn horn, and I’m always a sucker for cute design choices.

The game seems to have had other plans for me, however. While my free summon was a four-star Palla (Also known as not the sword user Pegasus knight I wanted), I decided to use a couple of extra orbs considering the Tempest Trials Mini and other daily events have given me a 100+ orb surplus.

Then this happened:img_6172-2

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This craziness was enough to outright blow me away when it happened. It kind of said to me that somebody somewhere is looking out to prove that games can be nice to their players. Once in a while, at least.

Seriously, three five stars in general at once is insane, but having Innes from the Sacred Stones banner and Nephenee from the new Path of Radiance banner show up for me is all kinds of extra nuts just from being so recently relevant.

Sure, it’ll be a bit of a slog to raise all three of them up to their full glory, but in the end I’m sure it will be a worth-while venture. The more good five stars I have, the easier it becomes to tackle things with continuous fights under changing conditions like the Arena Assault game.


With that slight bit of self-serving feel-goodness out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what we got to surround this new summoning focus banner.

The Radiant series seems to be an ever-popular one in the Fire Emblem fandom, and Heroes has no qualms about using that popularity to push bigger elements in its ever evolving story by the looks of it.

The Dauntless Crimeans came alongside a new main story chapter, one with five missions and plenty of actually engaging plot.

Of course a new story mission also means a host of other goodies, like extra orb missions and daily log-in bonuses:

But I would honestly argue that the plot for the “Diabolical Bloodline” chapter is really what should be drawing you in… If you’re into the plot of Fire Emblem Heroes like I am, at least.

Although, spoiler alert, this part of the plot has literally nothing to do with the new heroes despite taking place in their world. Just as a forewarning for anyone who was hoping to see the three newbies in their natural habitats.

This leg of the story begins fresh off the heels of Chapters 11 and 12 leading you through the world of Fire Emblem Echoes and culminating in the reveal that one of the archvillains, Prince Bruno, is actually the Order of Heroes’ missing friend Zacharias.

Pretty much right off the bat things jump into a hefty amount of exposition and backstory on Zacharias. It’s a lot all at once, arguably even overwhelmingly so from the way it comes out of nowhere, but at the same time it’s a very… Expected Fire Emblem backstory.

Evil dragons, harsh royal blood, puppet curses… Everything you’d expect to see in the plot of a Fire Emblem game. A safe choice in that respect, though they do go more personal with it.

 

I would say adding the details about his mother is just the kind of unexpected emotional whammy needed to build up some sympathy and intrigue in the character.

Beyond that, however, this chapter doesn’t offer much in terms of plot. Like I said before the three focus heroes show up as set pieces, but not a single one of them gets a line of dialogue. Not even the usual generic affair about there being a contract they need to follow.

I would say that’s the strangest part of this whole chapter, the general lack of use of other characters despite there being at least 5 missions to introduce Zacharias’ backstory and maybe even elaborate more on why the World of Radiance seems to be a favorite spot for him.

Though I could also argue that’s asking a lot for the plot of a mobile game that only periodically updates… So I digress.

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The five missions in Chapter 13 weren’t necessarily all that engaging to me considering I haven’t spent any time in the world of the original games. Nothing stood out too specifically about the backgrounds or the music as a result, though I do enjoy the world theme for the levels.

I did also find it interesting to note that Chapter 13-5 uses Brave Ike rather than normal Ike. Can’t help but wonder whether that means Brave Ike ties in more with Path of Radiance, or if they simply wanted to shake things up considering the new summoning focus had no axe-wielders.

However, arguably Chapter 13-3 took the cake as being the most interesting of the five. It was the only level to include a “survive 7 turns” stipulation, but rather than just forcing you to take on an onslaught of generic enemies, the level actually introduced a brand new character into the mix:

Not only does the Black Knight look dope as hell, but his appearance adds an interesting element to the fight. He’s invincible thanks to the special Emblia’s Ward ability and rather high leveled even on the most basic difficulty setting, so the character acts like a check for being able to blow through the mission like it’s nothing.

Plus, it more or less tells us everything we need to know about Black Knight before he appears in some sort of Grand Hero Battle later on. A sword with distant counter, a more powerful version of the Luna special attack, a defense boost when he’s attacked and Wings of Mercy to jump to an ally when they’re damaged… I can already tell this guy is going to be pretty powerful, especially on my armor team with Amelia.

Even with that diversion out of the way, however, things quickly jump back into Zacharias and his own emotional dark god blood angst.

 


Defeat him here and you get to go into some conclusive details with him somewhat making up with the Order of Heroes but knowing he can’t come back because blah blah story continuity and necessary villain being necessary.

And, of course, things end off with a message for the player.

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Pretty standard roll-credits stuff here, not gunna lie. Fairly well handled considering how long we’ve been invested in these characters now, but nothing Pulitzer Prize winning by any means.

Now we wait and see where things go next.


Well, looks like that about wraps things up for today’s Fire Emblem Heroes update. Just in time to make my video conference in a half hour too, conventionally enough.

What do you think about the new Crimean heroes? Do you have a favorite? I certainly like Elincia best from a design perspective, but Nephenee seems pretty powerful and I’m looking forward to trying her out.

How about the continually growing Heroes story arc? Do you enjoy what they’ve been doing with it? Or would you be equally as content if everything was more filler-based considering the nature of the mobile title?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

As I’m sure anyone watching my blog has noticed that I’ve been rather busy the past few days. Driving around for internship/Boom-related events, starting daily production for the Daily Titan with some late nights, working on stories like DACA and our interview with President García, plus more in that I haven’t gone into half of the actual schoolwork and personal things I’ve had to deal with beyond work.

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:

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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.

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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:
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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?


Version 1.7.0

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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.

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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!

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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

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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:

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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…

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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-

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I’m sorry, what was that? 85 health?

43 defense?

30 speed?

Pavise?

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.

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Or it would be if I got a picture without Mathilda in the way… Sorry.

Hector kind of overshadows it, but I do think it’s quite nice. Thought that would be worth mentioning.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

My best guess is probably Ephraim’s first castle siege map in Chapter 5X or the much larger equivalent you get later on in Chapter 9, though I don’t know for sure. I just know that with the cavalier team I’ve been able to assemble since summoning Brave Lyn it honestly hasn’t been a huge hassle to at least get through Lunatic difficulty. Infernal is another matter entirely, but I have a few days to figure that out at this point.

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.

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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…

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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 Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

Before Fire Emblem Heroes hit mobile app stores, there was a promotional “Choose Your Legends” event that had fans of the Fire Emblem series vote on heroes they were interested in seeing in a game which had only just recently been teased at a token Nintendo Direct for the series.

When the voting period ended and the results were released, not much was very surprising about the results. Taking the top rungs of the ladder for the men were Ike from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as well as Roy from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. For the women, Lyndis from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening took top billing.

In the six months since the game has launched, we have not heard much regarding these four chosen heroes, the most popular in Fire Emblem history if you believe in the sanctity of a community-driven vote. Democracy at work.

But now we know just what has been cooking for these fan favorites: A new distinction as “Brave Heroes,” bringing along with them a new look, new weapons, new skills and a certain extra sense of prestige.

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Okay, technically we knew about these Brave Heroes a couple days ago when a new episode of Feh Channel was released…

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Which you can watch here if you’re interested.

But that came out so close to the actual release of these guys that I figured it would be worth waiting to talk about them.

So, now that they’re here, what are the Brave Heroes we chose packing?

  • Lucina – Brave Princess
    • Lucina wields the legendary lance Geirskögul, which gives her +3 defense and gives allies with physical weapons within 2 spaces +3 attack and speed during combat. She also comes with the special attack Aether, boosting her damage while recovering health, and the skills Sturdy Blow (to add attack and defense during initiated combat) and Drive Speed (to grant her allies +3 speed within 2 spaces during combat).
  • Roy – Brave Lion
    • Roy wields the legendary sword Blazing Durandal, which gives him +3 attack and adds +1 to the special attack cooldown of his enemies if he has a higher attack stat. He comes equipped with the special attack Galeforce, granting him an extra turn if he initiates combat, and the skills Steady Blow (to add speed and defense during initiated combat) and Desperation (which allows for immediate follow-up attacks if he’s below 75% health). Roy is also a cavalier now.
  • Lyndis – Brave Lady
    • Lyn wields the legendary bow Mulagir, which gives her +3 speed and nullifies the bonuses of magic users from skills like Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X.’ Her special skill is Draconic Aura, a consistent damage booster, and she comes with three skills: Swift Sparrow (to add attack and speed during initiated combat), Sacae’s Blessing (disabling counterattacks on foes with swords, lances and axes) and Attack Smoke (which inflicts -7 attack on foes within 2 spaces after combat). Brave Lady Lyn is also the first Bow Knight added to the game, giving her vast mobility and range.
  • Ike – Brave Mercenary
    • Ike wields the legendary axe Urvan, which gives him an accelerated special attack cooldown and makes it so consecutive attacks deal 80% less damage. Fun fact, 80% is a hell of a lot considering this is a game where 40 damage is usually a one hit kill. His special skill is Aether just like Lucina has, and he comes with three skills: Steady Breath (granting him +4 defense if attacked and adding +1 to his cooldown), Beorc’s Blessing (which nullifies the Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X’ and more bonuses from flying units and cavaliers) and Threaten Defense (which lowers opponents defense by 5 within 2 spaces after combat).

I mentioned it before, but the results of the Choose Your Legends event are pretty obvious in hindsight. On the one hand, I can totally see why:

  • Lucina is arguably the most popular character from Awakening, the game that saved the Fire Emblem series from extinction a few years ago. She’s the central tie for essentially everything that happens in that game, and that makes her a very interesting and dynamic character. Plus, she got a chance to be in Super Smash Bros 4 (which as you’ll see is a common theme in this list).
  • Roy was one of the two characters, alongside Marth, who bolstered the popularity of Fire Emblem in the United States. They both appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and got American audiences interested in the previously obscure RPG, enough so that the next game in the series was released here. Speaking of…
  • Lyndis is a main character from the Blazing Blade, which in America was known simply as “Fire Emblem” because it was the first game in the series to be released there. In fact, though I’m not entirely sure considering I haven’t personally played the game, I believe Lyn is the very first character you encounter in that game as the main character in the tutorial stages. Add to that her legendary status as a one-hit-knock-out assist trophy in Smash Bros. and you have someone quite memorable to many fans.
  • If Lyn is considered quite memorable, Ike is truly a character anyone who has even heard of Fire Emblem can recognize. As a main hero in two Fire Emblem games and a fighter introduced into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he has had quite a strong presence in much of the series’ history. In fact, much of his popularity probably stems from the memes that Smash Bros. spawned. Not only is he a cool heavy-hitting character that uses a flaming sword, but cries of “Aether,” “We like Ike” and “I fight for my friends” characterize a large breadth of jokes that get passed around for the game. Ike even appears in the opening title screen for Heroes, and the long stretch of time before he was added to the game had many players asking for him to appear.

But on the other hand, that inherent popularity of these heroes makes their appearance here entirely too predictable. In a way, I would almost argue that makes it a boring list of characters to highlight despite how much “fan favoritism” balances that out.

However, I would also argue the way the heroes look and their awesome skills help to balance that out even more. They seriously look and play amazingly just from the offset, so even if I feel we were jipped by not giving other heroes the chance at alternate skins (of which Lucina now has three for whoever is keeping count), at least they’re still worth getting.

Though if I had my way, those abundant votes for Neimi in that original voting session would have held more sway. Just saying.

Another special thing about this new summoning banner comes from the fact that the game is trying something new with it: Allowing players to get one of the Brave Heroes for free.

This unprecedented bit of generosity helps play back on the community-driven aspect of the Choose Your Legends event. Players chose these heroes to represent their favorites, so they all get to have at least one as a thank you for playing the game.

Who did I choose, I hear you ask?

Well…

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Though it was a tough choice between her and Ike, I had to go with Lyndis. Namely because she’s the first Bow Knight introduced into Fire Emblem Heroes. The horse-mounted archer class is probably my favorite in the series (again dating back to Neimi in Sacred Stones), and on top of that it fits perfectly onto the horse-themed team I’ve been building for some time now.

I’ll probably blow some orbs trying to summon the rest of the three available Brave Heroes, but I likely won’t go crazy over it. They’re all cool and limited-time rare, but I still feel like I should be saving my orbs for a rainy day after a number of recent binges.


Now onto what is strangely still one of my favorite parts of these updates: The story.

This time around it’s pretty bare bones, so those of you who don’t enjoy my endless ramblings are getting lucky.

This Paralogue comes with the usual assortment of bonuses you would expect. Three difficulty levels to get nine orbs, three extra missions for more orbs… But this time, it also comes alongside a log-in bonus to help players get 20 orbs.

In terms of the actual story, this Paralogue is frankly more fluffy than most of the others on our ever-growing list.

And I don’t mean fluffy as in “Let’s watch Anna try to take some click-bait swimsuit pictures,” I mean fluffy as in “This Paralogue is literally just a nod to players about this being a player-driven choice and event.”

It begins with a rather thin premise of enemy forces gathering in an old temple in Askr.

As it turns out, that temple was the original resting place of the weapon that you, the player character, now wields that gives you the ability to summon heroes from the various worlds. So then, why is the Emblian empire stationing themselves there if the one weapon the temple is known for has already been taken?

Well… They don’t really explain that.

They just explain that Brave Heroes, who are exceptionally stronger than normal heroes because of the strength behind the love and belief of others that resides in them (which is another thin way of saying we all voted for them), are there now.

“A legendary rite” say the writers with a wink and a knowing grin.

Interestingly enough nothing goes any deeper than this. Everything about this Paralogue can essentially be summed up as “Hey look at this fan service we’re giving you, hope you enjoy the free stuff.”

Don’t know what it is with me and fake quoting things tonight, but it’s certainly happening a lot.

That aside, in the end you just go through the three battles:

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But nothing of substance happens until the end when the four are together and talk in vaguely meta terms about being chosen.

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And that’s all she wrote.

However, before I move on, I did want to mention an interesting point tying the four heroes together. In their selected descriptions, each of them mentions the fact that these forms are based on their fathers in one form or another.

Lucina is wearing armor similar to her father’s armor. Lyndis is utilizing the bow and horse riding skills of her father. Roy is using his father’s sword and rides a horse like him as well. Ike, finally, is using his father’s axe to battle.

This is arguably a small detail, but I think it’s a really cool way to add some extra world building into the mix. I can always appreciate some extra world building.


The Brave Heroes summoning focus isn’t the only way Intelligent Systems is making good on the Choose Your Legends event from before the game’s launch.

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The eight highest ranked heroes (four men and four women, including the regular forms of the previously discussed brave heroes) will be pitted against one another in a voting gauntlet.

I personally only have a Roy and a Camilla in my hero storage banks, but neither are leveled up at all, so this will probably be the first gauntlet in which I don’t actively support a hero I use to gain extra points.

That said I’ll be supporting Ike to start. Because I’ll be honest, it’ll be quite the shock for me if he doesn’t wind up winning.

While I won’t personally be buying into them, there are two summoning focuses in place to summon the characters in question:

 

 

My orbs are better spent in other places I would argue, even if a regular Ike or a Hector are heroes I could stand to have eventually.

One thing I think is interesting to note is the fact that of the eight available heroes, six are red units (five of which being sword users specifically). The other two are axe wielders, which means they’re inherently at a disadvantage. Though using the units themselves merely gives you a benefit and isn’t required, thus making it so their one-on-one disadvantages are essentially null, I still think it says something that so many of the community’s favorite units use swords.

It probably says that everyone thinks swords are cool. Which is true.

Swords are great.


Finally, I also figured it would be worth mentioning that the Heroes developers are doing some interesting outside marketing/engagement using players of the game.

The most prominent of those efforts is putting out tweets and giving rewards out if enough people retweet it. This is the second time they’ve done it, and unlike the first time I actually decided to do my part this time around:

They also have a game set up on the official Fire Emblem Heroes website called a Quick Hero Battle mode that lets you choose units that have an advantage over a unit they throw at you repeatedly for 30 second bouts. You can play the game twice a day (unless you post about it on social media, in which case you get more play time) and the current prizes are phone wallpapers of the Brave Heroes.

Don’t have too much to say in regards to these, I just think it’s an interesting little outreach that was worth at least bringing up. Hell, anything that can help encourage me to keep more engaged in social media is probably a miracle in and of itself.


Now, with all of this said, I officially take my leave. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so it would probably do me some good to get more sleep than I’m giving myself.

What do you think of the Brave Heroes? Which one is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments below!