Tag: Nephenee

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Another update has made its way to Fire Emblem Heroes. This one is relatively small and more focused on assisting players who are new to the game, but veteran players are able to reap some rewards too.

Thus I’m going to talk about this one all the same! Just don’t expect it to be a particularly long update. I’m still hot, tired and waiting in anticipation for the new summer units to drop.

Speaking of, get ready for that update tomorrow too. Should be fun!


Tactics Drills & Learning with Sharena

The major addition for Version 2.7.0 is Tactics Drills. In a sense these are advanced tutorials for players that go far deeper into the game’s mechanics than the cursory tutorial missions at the start of the story mode when you start the game up for the first time.

As you can see, they come in three tiers of difficulty. Each serves a slightly different purpose, but all offer the same bonuses for new and old players alike. Every five maps give players 300 Hero Feathers when they’re passed, and the sixth map will offer an orb for completion.

The small amounts don’t really build up to a lot in the end, but rewards are rewards and I can’t complain. Especially since supposedly there will be more added into the different tiers as time goes on.

So what do the tiers offer?

The “basics” tab offers challenges that showcase… Well… The basics of the game. There’s really no better way to put it.

These basics range from how different unit types move across the field to showcasing the benefits of certain strategies like baiting out enemies or teaching players how different weapons work.

They’re all pretty simple honestly, and the rewards are more worthwhile than the instruction in my personal attempts.

The “Skill Studies” tab… Again, just about does what the name implies.

Each map showcases a different skill archetype that exists in the game. Hone skills that improve stats, more attack-focused skills like Wraith, so on and so forth. If you don’t understand how certain strategies work, this will likely help you out. There are even a few toward the end that I haven’t been able to beat yet, as I find they’re a little more difficult.

The “Grandmaster” tab moves furthest away from being purely tutorial-based. Rather than teaching basic skills knowledge, Grandmaster challenges are simply that. Challenges.

The game throws you into a map with a pre-determined unit set and just has you go at it. I haven’t personally attempted these maps yet, though considering you need to have access to Book II of the story in order to even open these maps up, they’re clearly more difficult than the average challenge.

I only wish this meant they had better rewards too. But no, it’s still rather basic all things considered.

What’s interesting about all of these missions are that they’re purely for instruction and require no baseline units. The only real requirement to anything is the level cap for accessing Grandmaster tactics.

Every unit is provided based on the challenge. That means not only is everyone more open to the rewards, but newer players can see which units have great skills to utilize should they be lucky enough to summon them.

It’s a respectable idea all-and-all. I appreciate it.

You may have also noticed a fourth tab allowing people to “Learn with Sharena.” If any of you were wondering what that was:

It’s essentially a website with more in-depth tutorials on anything and everything in the game. Pretty much the same stuff you’ll get out of the Tactics Drills but spelled out in further detail.

They also include silly back-and-forth conversations between Sharena and Anna.

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Again, I think it’s a respectable addition to help improve the game’s accessibility for new players.

I’m just not personally very driven to go look at them without the allure of extra rewards. Sorry Intelligent Systems.


Weapon Refinery Update

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Ah yes, another four units have come up to the wringer. Has Intelligent Systems done their job in making these characters more useful than they were before?

For the most part… Not so much. From what I understand, anyway.

Katarina (known as the first scarf bae in my friend circle) essentially gained a refine to her tome that adds a Speed and Resistance Ploy skill on top of its owl effect. However, as Jonathan (owner of the bae) pointed out, her weapon’s might sticks at 14 rather than building up to 16 as we usually see. So… Yeah, that’s a thing.

Eldigan wasn’t given a straight upgrade so much as he was given an alternate path to success. His Mystletainn was already able to refine itself and have a built-in Fury skill, giving him a big boost across all stats at the cost of some health. The fact that he was able to have double the Fury was actually a great meme for a while there.

Now he can take on his son’s previously exclusive variant known as the Dark Mystletainn, which inherent accelerates Special Attack cooldown by one, then accelerates cooldown by two each time that attack triggers during combat. Honestly both are viable options, so it’s up to personal preference.

Titania probably got the worst of the upgrades in this batch. Her brand new Draconic Poleax keeps a Triangle Adept skill in-tact from her Emerald Axe, but has a much more beefy 16 might. When players refine the weapon, it apparently grants +6 resistance to units within two spaces.

I don’t use Titania, but honestly this upgrade doesn’t make me any more willing to do so. Sorry girl, better luck next time.

Conversely, Nephenee‘s upgrade from the Slaying Lance to the Dauntless Lance is a vast improvement and I couldn’t be happier. She has been a mainstay on my Water Blessing team for a long time, so I’m glad to have even more reasons to use her.

On top of cranking her might from 14 to 16 (leaving the base lance as powerful as her old one with a refinement), she also gains an inherent advantage against armored units. Zelgius and Black Knight be damned.

However, add onto that an additional refinement to the Dauntless Lance that gives her +4 Speed and Defense when she’s attacked and Nephenee becomes quite the monster in her own right.

It’s a little silly to say that she moved from being my chief lance infantry unit to being my chief lance infantry unit with even more regard. But hey, that’s what should be expected when you improve upon greatness.


Quest Progression

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I don’t exactly have a lot to say about this new feature in particular. In fact, I don’t fully understand why this standalone update was important enough to distinguish alongside new unit skills and the new game mode.

But someone decided it was important, so I’ll give it the time it demands.

Apparently when players complete quests, there will be a separate screen dedicated to showing off all of a player’s finished quests rather than having everything separated onto different pages.

I’m not sure who thought this was a significant problem that needed to be addressed, but I hope they’re happy with it. It seems a little superfluous when there was already an option to simply accept all of one’s finished quests… But oh well.


Additional Updates

As usual, there are a number of smaller things listed at the bottom of the 2.7.0 update page. They usually aren’t big enough to give a lot of time to, but I like to spread the word all the same:

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Things like new maps scrolling to the top are cool quality of life updates that always come with new versions of the game. They just don’t offer too much to talk about.

However, there are a few especially nice things in the ‘other improvements’ section this time around. Being able to set any music one wants underneath battles is something straight out of classic Fire Emblem games and is a greatly appreciated option in a title that features songs from every game in the series. Event text recaps are also a great addition for someone like me, who seriously enjoys little things like plot in silly games like this.

The most useful overall is the ability to restart ‘difficult’ maps without having to exit and reenter the battle over-and-over again. As someone who tries things like Grand Hero Battles repeatedly to earn all the orbs I can, I can assure you all that this is highly beneficial — even if you haven’t personally gotten to a point where it’s useful just yet.


Like I mentioned up top, none of the updates specifically included in Version 2.7.0 are groundbreaking. The tutorial missions that make up Tactics Drills are nice, though mostly for the rewards given how long I’ve been involved in the game. Nephenee getting stronger is also a plus, and I’m really glad I can restart missions that don’t require stamina at a faster pace.

If nothing else, even smaller moves forward like this show there’s always room for improvement in a constantly developing game like Fire Emblem Heroes.

That said, what sort of updates might you want to see come to the game in the future? Let me know in the comments down below!

In the meantime, I’ll see you all tomorrow when Sketchy Summer units arrive.

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!