Tag: Nintendo

Ultimately Pointless Thoughts on Industrial Aesthetics

I was going to write something tonight about Wizard of Legend, an indie game developed by the two-person team at Contingent99 that’s all about being a dope mage who is basically the Avatar in a rogue-like dungeon crawler. It’s super fun and my current gaming venture with Alyson on the Switch, since she’s about to finish her school year and we wanted something to play together.

Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out a good way to pull pictures off of the damn console because it needs a Micro SD card and we only have a Mini SD card.

So a discussion on the merits of that amazing little couch co-op action game will have to wait for another day.

Instead I figured I would just ramble a bit about something that got me thinking during my travels today.

While driving to Hof’s Hut in Torrance this morning, where we had breakfast with my grandparents as an early Father’s Day celebration, we passed through a part of the city that could best be described as an industrial park.

Lumber yards and other mills interspersed with office complexes in a compact grid. That kind of a region.

What struck me in particular was the foliage in the part of the city we drove through, as odd as that sounds.

There’s a clear divide between the two residential areas and the industrial park between them along the path that we took to the restaurant. Especially crossing Hawthorne Boulevard, where one side of a train track-covered bridge is as classic a suburban area as it gets — tightly packed houses dotting hills and strip malls all around — while the other side is office complexes, empty lots, electrical towers and lines of hedges across entire sides of some streets.

Everything on the industrial side is much more spaced out and very clearly grossed out as if purposefully designed by someone playing Sim City.

The hedges are what intrigue me the most, as they seem like the outer walls of large mazes, complete with a singular entryway that has a sign indicating what’s on the other side. A lumber yard, like I mentioned, happens to be the one kind of facility I recall specifically.

Thinking it over I can’t help but wonder… For what reason have these facilities decided to cover themselves up?

Is there a law leading to that kind of exterior decorating? Or simply a way of building a better public image by preventing citizens on the outside from seeing any sort of “eyesore?”

Who decided to use hedges in particular? Why is that a common practice?

Also, in a more wide-ranging aspect of the question, is that practice common around the country? The world?

I’m not sure any of this brief flirting with the ideas of how industrial parks work from an aesthetic level amount to anything more than a dumb blog post. It could possibly be a future research opportunity for a story of some kind…

But for right now I’m a little too tired to dig through the history of industrial parks in any sort of hard research excursion. Especially considering my main computer seems to be having problems and I had to copy the entire post here off on my phone a second time.

If nothing else, I suppose being thoughtful about the nature of some foliage surrounding a lumber yard has inspired at least a little bit more than just an ultimately pointless blog post.

I’m thinking about potentially building something with a hedge maze in Minecraft on my friend’s world. Perhaps a revival of a project I tried to construct years ago.

Or at least I’ll think about building that more when I’m not running around zapping fools as an incredible wizard.

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Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

E3 was a tricky thing for me this year. See… A lot of it just isn’t for me.

That’s not me saying I’m not interested in a lot of the developers and what they’re working on, I mean literally there are barriers to me playing most games.

Like yeah I would love to play Kingdom Hearts 3, and I thought having three trailers across three different conferences that all featured different content was dope. But it’s on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Not the Switch.

#BringKH3toSwitch

Or yeah, Resident Evil 2 getting an HD remake is neat. Shadows Die Twice looks like a super cool game. Monster Hunting in Final Fantasy 14 is a good idea no matter which way you slice it. Fallout 76 seems interesting and fun. Etcetera, etcetera.

Unfortunately I’m just limited in what I can access, and money is a severely limiting factor when it comes to getting consoles.

So to sum up 90 percent of E3 this year I’ll say this: It was better than a lot of other years prior, and I had a great time watching my friends freak out about what’s coming out soonish. And it has been cool seeing YouTube ads get replaced by E3 trailers

But frankly the only thing I can really have any authority or hype to discuss is the big N. So today, I’m dedicating my blog post to the Nintendo E3 2018 Direct conference.

If you want something more in-depth about the other conferences, there’s plenty of opinions out there. Might I recommend ProJared? He didn’t go to the conference in person this year it looks like, but I still respect his opinion quite a bit.

That said, let’s jump right in with what we got out of Nintendo this year.


So the Direct starts with this hype game about mechs battling called DAEMON X MACHINA. Super action-y music, real Justice League-esque color scheme.

It looks cool, and I get why they would start with something that has such a high-octane feel… But it’s not a very ‘Nintendo’-looking game. I just kind of spent half of it staring at the screen wondering why we started with this and not one of the classic IPs.

But then it very jarringly cuts to silence and awkwardly moves into the next thing.

That next thing happens to be Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC. Which is something I would probably care about more if I’d played either of the Xenoblade Chronicles games.

Next.

Okay that’s not fair, it’s nice to see the game getting more love since I know it’s a series plenty of people love. I just literally don’t know enough about it to offer an opinion.

But hey, then our boy Reggie Fils-Aimé comes in to kick things up to 100 for me by showing off that Pokémon goodness.

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Except he doesn’t really, since it’s mostly just a recap of the trailer we saw the other day. No new footage or anything. So I guess if you want my over-extensive rumination on that, check it out through this link.

One thing he does let us know that’s new is the fact that the Pokeball Plus accessory allows you to get Mew in Let’s Go. That… Actually does make them feel much more worthwhile than I had originally thought.

Damn you clever marketing tactics. Damn you…

After that brief aside comes a return to form that feels much-needed on the Switch:

Super Mario Party.

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Image courtesy of vg247.com

That’s right, everyone’s favorite friendship killer is back. But this time it looks like Nintendo made a lot of good choices just based on the footage we can see.

For one, no more cars. Everyone wanders around on the game board on their own again. God bless.

They also show off the fact that the Switch consoles themselves will be well-integrated into the mini games, allowing players to do things like rearrange battlefields for tank fights.

Everything looks colorful and has branching pathways again, and there seems to be a wide variety of mini games to play. On top of that, they clearly pushed the fact that this is a Mario Party you can take literally anywhere thanks to it being on the Switch, which is a good selling point.

Plus Rosalina is there as a playable character. So honestly I can find no reason to complain. Come October, my friends and I are going to be all over it I’m sure.

Once Mario is finished, we move into the next thing. Yet another highly anticipated interest of mine:

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Image Courtesy of Nintendosoup.com

Fire Emblem Switch finally has a name. Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

It seems the one thing Intelligent Systems learned from Fates is the fact that they can sell more games if they split them up, so instead of two main versions now there are three!

Alright no that’s a joke, don’t believe that fake news. I think it’s just three Lord characters from feuding lands or something along those lines.

The game honestly looks gorgeous from what we can see in the trailer. The environments look realistic more in-line with Fire Emblem Warriors than the somewhat cartoonish fantasy worlds of Awakening and Fates. Which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are, but I dig the art style personally.

It also seems to retain the same stylized cutscene art as Echoes, and the in-game character models are full body, more in-line with those cutscenes.

There are a number of new mechanics showcased in the trailer as well. For one, all individual units appear to have their own troop of units surrounding them when you zoom in close enough. Honestly, this makes a lot of sense to embody the feeling of controlling an army, something older titles had to kind of awkwardly skirt around due to the conflicts with its core gameplay mechanics.

The extra troops don’t appear to be able to take hits for each individual main unit, but they can be put into formations to direct attacks whichever way the player wants.

Also introduced as a step-up from previous titles is what looks like semi-open world portions where the game’s lords can explore expansive towns and castles. It’s as if the free-roaming home base feature from Fates used the third person camera style from dungeon exploring that came in Echoes, but it has a massive graphical overhaul.

Beyond that there are a few extra vague things shown that won’t necessarily make sense until we learn more/see the game. There are character choices that may affect what weapons the Lord units specialize in, the evil king uses an electrical whip like that villain from Iron Man 2 (so whips confirmed as weapons?), there are big mechanical people who seem to be units or at least bosses…

And then lore stuff that isn’t exactly clear.

They give a Spring 2019 release date, but that’s about all we can gleam before the next few trailers hit rapid-fire. For anyone who watched the presentation, there’s a pretty big light at the end of the tunnel so I’ll move through them quick.

  • Fortnite on Switch: I couldn’t really care less. But it’s free I suppose?
  • Reggie comes back to introduce Indie games. Starting with the sequel to Overcooked — a game that I’ve been forced to play with my friends and regret every minute of. Why Reggie. Why.
  • Killer Queen Black looks like a strange 16-bit inspired clone of Joust, just updated for 2018 mayhem. Apparently it’s a port of a game Reggie says was really popular… But I’ve never heard of it. So we’ll see.
  • Hollow Knight, meanwhile, is a game I’ve heard plenty about. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and fun, one of my friend Kyle’s favorites from 2017. I’ll actually consider downloading it given the fact it’s out today.
  • The super stylized Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler received an official June 14th release date. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the game but it looks cool and my friends are hyped for it, so I’m sure I’ll play it eventually.

After those announcements, there’s a montage of games that are either coming out or have come out. The one that stood out most, frankly, is Dragonball FighterZ. Something I’ve been looking for on Switch for forever.

Plus Dark Souls and Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate. And The World Ends with You, coming this Fall apparently.

Just… Give it to me already Nintendo, I need all of your games.

But wait, that montage must be the end of the Direct, right? How can there still be a half hour left?

Oh.

Ohhh.

Oh man. Here we go. Masahiro Sakurai is here. That can only mean one thing:

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Image courtesy of theverge.comtheverge.com

We begin this long examination of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the biggest announcement it has to offer. Every single fighter from every previous Smash game is back.

Ice Climbers? In the game.

Solid Snake? In the game.

Pichu? Young Link? Wolf? Pokemon Trainer? In the game.

But more than that, a few characters have received overhauls. Most notably Link, who now sports his Breath of the Wild look, as well as Zelda, from Link Between Worlds, and Ganon, from Ocarina of Time. The clashing art styles there are a bit jarring for me personally, but it’s cool to get a wider breadth of representation for the series!

Oh and let’s not forget the new characters: the Inklings from Splatoon, Princess Daisy and… Oh.

Ridley.

Ridley is actually in the game.

Our memes have become our reality, folks. End of the line.

Many of the characters also appear to have adjusted move sets. Notably final smash attacks. For example, Pac-Man now seems to rain down like meteors in his, rather than just moving semi-quick across the screen. King Dedede’s smash is based on the Masked Dedede cage fight now. Bowser’s is based on the Yoshi’s Island boss fight.

There’s a whole long section in the video going over the different ways characters have changed, and I’d recommend going to watch that. It does a way better job summing things up than I could.

I’ll just say… RIP Landmaster. Your legacy will always be remembered.

Sakurai himself says they made the impossible possible because it’s what players want, and by god is he right. What a beautiful, amazing man.

Eight-player Smash matches are also returning, as are a billion fan-favorite maps. On top of that, there are little quality of life changes like seeing gauges for Cloud and Robin’s abilities, which makes it easier to track everything on one screen.

Oh and let’s not forget. Assist trophies have been added, like the Squid Sisters. Many can be knocked out too New Pokémon assists have been added, like Solgaleo from Sun and Moon.

… Also Bomberman is there. Because why not?

Everything emphasized by Sakurai seems to suggest the game’s development was focused on making everything more beautiful, more intimately connected to the individual fighters showcased and more quick and fun as a brawler for players.

It’s honestly a greatest hits album for Smash Bros., and I really can’t argue with how amazing it looks.

I just hope we get a lot more new characters in the lead-up to the game. I want the roster for Smash Ultimate to look like one of those silly rom hack Smash games. After all, the Inkling fighters and Ridley both look like really fun additions.

But mostly I want more characters because then we get more amazing reveal trailers.

In Ridley’s trailer, he straight up murders Mario and Mega Man.

Like holy shit it’s so intense and real like for no reason. And I love it.

Plus they say he finally ‘hits the big time.’ I see what you did there Sakurai.

With Smash coming out in December, it’s heard up to be a perfect holiday present for all the kiddos. I’m certainly looking forward to it!


I can understand why people might have been disappointed by Nintendo’s E3 Direct this year.

As a fan of Fire Emblem, Pokémon and Smash Bros., I had a great time watching the Direct. It does help that the Switch is the only console I own, so it was kind of a look at the only games I can get in the near future… But still.

I felt much more hype walking out of the Direct than I did walking in.

Despite that, the lack of discussion regarding things like Metroid Prime 4, which was teased last year, and other such misses are easy jabs to make at the conference. Everything was very focused on a select number of games, with not too much else branching out.

Of course there was (and I believe still is as I write this) the Treehouse Live going on that talked about more Pokémon details and stuff like that… But I didn’t have the patience or time to sit through it, so I’m going to leave those topics for another day.

Maybe.

Probably not, I don’t know. We’ll see.

In the meantime, let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 conference this year!

Or, further than that, let me know what you thought of E3 in general this year. I may only have a Nintendo console, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t games in the other spheres that I didn’t find interesting. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to coming soon to consoles everywhere!

Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

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If you missed part one of this two-part posting session on the Fire Emblem Heroes updates this week — which are frankly only connected by coincidental timing and the fact that I’m bringing it to your attention up top — check out the Version 2.6.0 update post through this link!

Whenever Heroes updates, the developers tend to package that update together with a new summoning focus and story missions. Version 2.6.0 was no exception, as it brought us new heroes from the Blazing Blade.

Except retroactively put ‘new’ in quotes because not all of them are new.

But I’ll discuss that as soon as I get through my discussion on the merit of these new units!


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NinoPale Flower

Skill Set:

  • Giga Excalibur (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
    • Grants +3 Speed. If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Aerobatics (B Skill)
    • Unit can move to a space adjacent to any infantry, armored or cavalry unit within two spaces.
  • Speed Smoke (C Skill)
    • Inflicts -7 Speed on foes within two spaces of target through their actions after combat.

Analysis:

Nino has been one of my favorite units in Heroes since the game first came out. I never played Blazing Blade, but when I summoned the green mage for the first time I loved the way her art looked and she quickly become a unit I used so much that she was the first I ever upgraded to a five-star through hero feathers. She was also the first unit I built-up with skill inheritance.

While that should theoretically make me more excited to see this new Nino… It’s kind of the opposite, honestly. That’s not because of her skills. If anything, she’s got a weapon with a dope animation (though the effect just seems okay at best) and has some effective power behind a glass canon speedy attacker build. Plus Aerobatics feels like it would be broken on a physical unit, if somewhat situational on a mage.

What really bugs me about her is the fact that she’s continuing a trend of units getting alternate forms outside of holiday events. First came cavalier Eirika, then Kinshi Hinoka. While I was willing to blow all my orbs on Hinoka because she was a dope new alternate, as a whole I find I really dislike the practice of taking the slot of fan-favorite characters who have yet to be introduced into the game and giving them to units who already are. During special occasions like holidays it makes sense, but the main banners should be reserved for new units like promised.

It just kind of feels like Intelligent Systems is hoping to pad out how long they can milk this game… Even though there are 20 billion units waiting to be introduced, and at the rate of three-to-five units being added every other week it certainly doesn’t seem like they’re close to drying up anytime soon.

But that’s enough ranting for now, we have two other heroes to discuss.


KarlaSword Vassal

Skill Set:

  • Vassal’s Blade (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown -1). If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Wrath (B Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, if unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit’s attack triggers a Special Attack, grants Special Attack cooldown -1. Deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Even Speed Wave (C Skill)
    • At the start of even-numbered turns, grants +6 Speed to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (Bonus granted to unit even with no allies adjacent).

Analysis:

I’ve heard lots of people calling Karla just a weaker version of Ayra, a unit we’ve already got that is considered one of the most broken in the game. I suppose I can’t argue with that, since I don’t have Ayra to compare her to, but at the same time I think Karla appears to do the job she’s been given exceedingly well based on her skill set.

Both Vassal’s Blade and Wrath are clearly focused on increasing the power and activation timing of her Special Attack, Draconic Aura. Though I imagine there are far better Special Attacks to give her out there, most if not all of them will likely be impressive. On top of that, Even Speed Wave is a nice buff to a team’s stats in a form that has thus far only been seen with Ishtar.

Long story short, I like the cut of her jib.


LegaultThe Hurricane

Skill Set:

  • The Cleaner (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Adds total bonuses on foe to damage dealt during combat. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Swift Strike (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Speed and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Attack Tactic (C Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, grants Attack +6 to allies within two spaces for one turn. Granted only if number of that ally’s movement type on current team is ≤ two.

Analysis:

In my opinion, Legault feels like he’s just on the outskirts of being the greatest dagger-wielding unit in the game.

His weapon The Cleaner just needed to have its text slightly adjusted. Instead of buffing Legault’s damage by the bonuses tacked onto the foe, it should have given him damage buffs based on the bonuses on his person. It should have been a Blade Tome Dagger, in other words.

Without it, Legault is rather basic with Glimmer, Swift Strike and Attack Tactic. There really isn’t anything special about him. I seriously just don’t have anything to say about the guy, he’s the lowest on the totem pole of units I want to summon on this particular banner.


To be totally blunt about this banner right off the bat, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time or orbs on these three units. After Legendary Ryoma quite literally bled me dry for nothing, I’m not exactly looking to spend anything on any unit until building my stockpile up again, to be fair.

But these three specifically don’t excite me that much on top of that. Like I said before, Nino would have been top of the list for my emotional connection to her in Heroes at least, but I’m internally protesting the practice IS has been using by not pining after her.

My orbs will probably be better spent either on the 2018 brides banner (which I still haven’t gotten anything out of) or on whatever summer-themed banner I’m sure will inevitably be coming out in the next few weeks.

That or I’ll just fill my coffers with orbs and feel better about myself. Having a security fund in this game is a magical thing, honestly.

Because I’m not planning on summoning too much here, I don’t have a section about my summoning experiences to share. So instead, let’s jump right into some story, because it’s a quintessential example of my favorite FEH meme:

Feh Plot Meme


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With a story chapter and mission both named ‘The King’s Demise,’ there’s no way we aren’t getting some plot all up in here.

Following the defeat of Helbindi in Chapter 9, the Order of Heroes continue to make their way into Múspell with hopes of defeating King Surtr once and for all. In general, the aesthetic of the land of fire isn’t my favorite when compared to the beautiful tundra environments and glassy castles of Nifl, but it’s serviceable and well done.

I do like Surtr’s throne room in particular, it reminds me of something I might build as an intimidating throne room with my friends in Minecraft. But that’s beside the point — we’re a long way away from his throne room at the start of the chapter.

Things kick off with the team conversing on how to best get to the King. Form’s youngest sibling offers her advice to move through the forest to get there having heard to do so from her prior captors.

I do still subscribe to the theory that Ylgr is actually the shapeshifter Loki in disguise,  as her extensive knowledge of the area might help suggest, but the game doesn’t really drop any more hints regarding that through this chapter. So we’ll see.

That resolve becomes a motif throughout the chapter, however.

Somewhat…

See, during the first and last missions it’s referenced quite a bit. Those are typically the most important parts of every chapter, after all.

The middle three tend to just be brief introductions to the characters who have been added into the game.

The Blazing Blade units feel like they were shafted somewhat in that regard. Besides the funny coincidence of their game’s name having ‘blazing’ in it, the added characters feel a bit out-of-place in the hellish land of Múspell and don’t get too much time to converse, something which may have helped otherwise.

There is a nice little continuity of throwing all the other members of the Black Fang into the missions to fit with Nino and Legault… But Karla feels very out-of-place as a result.

I don’t know, maybe my feelings toward the units in general colored my opinion of their appearance in-game, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of this one in that regard.

So instead I’m just going to focus solely on the conflict with the King.

When the Order clears out Legault on the first map, he drops some mad foreshadowing.

Then once the Blazing Blade units have all been routed, the Order makes it to his castle, ready for battle. It’s a battle that has been built up for 10 chapters now, with the game showcasing all of Surtr’s brutality through cutscenes and invincibility through battles.

It’s a battle that has been 10 chapters in the making through the quest for the Rite of Ice that brought about conflict in Nifl, the death of Gunnthrá and some strange sickness in Fjorm.

In other words?

It has been the progenitor of maximum lore.

That hope, it is revealed, is the magical power granted to the player character’s summoning gun weapon (because yes that’s still a thing) granted through the Rite of Ice.

When it’s utilized, the protection spell that brings the king invincibility disappears:

With the battle made more fair, Surtr is finally defeated.

There’s a pretty hilarious dissonance at this point in the game, for me at least, watching the all-powerful lord of flames who has been built up for so long finally be defeated…

By a level 40 unit that has a weapon triangle advantage while he’s sitting at about level 15. In one hit. With him unable to do anything in return.

Gotta love when game mechanics usurp plot armor.

Granted he is much tougher in the lunatic-level fight, but that’s a different story.

Once Surtr is defeated, the Order celebrates.

But wait.

There’s more.

Apparently, the Fire ritual that gave Surtr his power also prevents him from dying.

Because sometimes plot armor has to usurp game mechanics as well. God bless the push-and-pull of game development.

If I had to inject my own theorizing into the game’s story, I’d say the revival of Surtr (and some other details yet to come) are indicators of us only being halfway through Book II. Following a proper hero’s journey — because that would be fitting for FEH, wouldn’t it? — this is the halfway point where all seems hopeless before we find a way to build up to the ultimate climax.

Because Surtr’s description indicates he’s a descendant of the Fire Dragon, I’m under the impression we’ll eventually get to fight that dragon.

Plus there are other plot points that have yet to be resolved:

  • Where did Veronica go? Obviously she’s still summoning units for Múspell, but they said they would be using her as a ritual sacrifice. Will that be the next major plot device?
  • Is Ylgr secretly Loki? Also, what is Loki’s plan in all this? The bridal Tempest Trial indicated she’s the mother of Laevatein, so is she just in it for the king and her daughter? Or is that a lie and she has ulterior motives?

There are more, but we’ll get to that.

When Surtr is revived, the team is distraught and forced to retreat.

Yeah… He’s kind of a dick, too.

A very, very overconfident dick.

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Foreshadow?

Perhaps. Time will tell in that regard.

After that retreat, the scene cuts away to a post-battle discussion between the king’s daughters that serves to set up where everything seems to be going next.

So we’ve got that going for us.

These two dialogue boxes alone are rather interesting in my opinion. The first is a reference to the way Fjorm treated Laegjarn so amicable when she was captured following the battle in Nifl (featuring Chrom and the two Morgans).

If my shipper’s heart is to read into it… I’m led to believe Laegjarn might just have a crush on the ice princess based on that. Though it could just be a mutual respect and admiration. But I’d giggle if it were the prior.

The second seems to set up that the final Nifl sibling will become relevant to the plot from here on out.

Perhaps the next Legendary Hero will be a surprise appearance from the eldest Nifl royal? That or he’ll simply arrive in the story to help lead a charge against Surtr once the next path to weakening him is discovered.

I just hope he’s a more well utilized character than Celica’s brother in Echoes, who was a cool masked cavalier that felt wasted once he was actually turned into a unit… Like… three-quarters of the way through the game.

That’s right, #EchoesShade. Don’t @ me, gamers.


With the story fading to black from there, leaving our heroes on a low note that makes it seem as though all is lost — but throwing in a glimpse of hope to cut through the darkness — I’ve officially run out of things to say.

Overall I appreciate the hero’s journey that has been set up in the long-term, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers do with it.

How do you feel about the way the story is developing?

Plus, let me know what you think of the brand new heroes from Blazing Blade in the comments down below!

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.6.0: Masks and Menu Mayhem

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.6.0: Masks and Menu Mayhem

There ain’t no weekend like a Fire Emblem Heroes update weekend!

This Thursday afternoon, Heroes received its 2.6.0 update, which was followed up with a brand new summoning focus based around Blazing Blade characters that night.

While I usually try to condense this stuff into a day after post, the band-related stuff I took part in yesterday kept me busy enough that I really wasn’t able to commit the time I wanted to this. So I figure I’ll split the version update and the new summoning banner into different posts today and tomorrow to fill my writing quota.

That said, if you’re seeing this well in the future when everything is already available, you can check out the post on the summoning focus here.

But for now, let’s jump into what’s new with version 2.6.0!


Home Page Changes

Alright so the most obvious and somewhat jarring change that came with this update is visible as soon as players open the game:

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That’s right, the hub area now has red ribbon labels over each function.

That’s pretty much literally all there is to say about that. Apparently the point was to make them more obvious but I wouldn’t say they were necessarily hard to discern in the first place.

Ah well, we’ll get used to the new look eventually and it probably won’t even matter.

Next!


Accessories

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Coming straight out of the world of Fire Emblem Fates, Heroes is adding a bit more customization by implementing an accessories system.

Again, there isn’t all that much to say about this feature. It’s rather self-explanatory.

Outfit pieces can be unlocked in various ways, and players can attach those pieces to their heroes to give them a bit more personality when facing off against opponents in the Arena.

Or just for the sake of making them look cool. That’s also an excellent reason to do it, let’s be honest.

A few accessories were given out when the game updated as the reward for a retweet event a couple of weeks back, so everyone who plays has started off with something to put on already.

 

Naturally I dressed up Eirika first, since she’s arguably my most used unit and the protagonist from my favorite Fire Emblem game.

Or at least the protagonist that I own in a game with two main protagonists.

Doesn’t she look frickin’ cute in that hairpin? I think so.

At the moment there are only five accessories to utilize, so not too many characters can take advantage of them. Most of those five are also locked behind missions to complete:

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Luckily they’re easy to complete. And we have 40 days to do so.

If nothing else I’m thankful that the Mysterious Mask Lucina wears when she cosplays as Marth is one of the first costume pieces available. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time trying to decide who’s the best person to wear that thing.

I hope they frequently add in more accessories, because one day I’d like to make my characters as baller as I made Beruka back in my Fates days.

Cool Beruka

Classic.


Ally Menu Adjustments

While the addition of more stand-out labels to the home page were the most immediately striking change visually, this one is arguably going to screw with players the most in my opinion.

Or, at least, it’s going to screw with me for a long time. That much I can guarantee.

Long-time players of Fire Emblem Heroes are likely to flip to the game’s misc. setting tab when they want to look at the Hero Merit their units have accumulated or to see the progress made on their Hero Catalog.

Like me, they probably had to do a double take when discovering those options are no longer under that tab.

That’s because the Ally tab has been completely reinvented to offer just about anything and everything related to working with units in one place.

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Contrary to what many of you may be thinking, the plus signs aren’t actually something players can interact with.

They do, in fact, indicate that there’s an extra menu under those options to expand out. However the actual icons don’t open up or have smaller icons pop up underneath. They just open up a separate page with a number of options to select in each.

For Ally Growth:

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For Change Equipment:

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For Interact with Allies:

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See, that’s where the Catalog and Hero Merit List are hiding now.

In the same change category, the game has also highlighted two other quality of life additions to the Ally menus.

First is the ability to automatically spend as much SP as a character has accumulated on their skill upgrades all at once, rather than having to do them one-at-a-time like a savage.

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Considering how many people inherit skills that wouldn’t want their SP spent on certain skills they aren’t looking to use, I can’t imagine this option will be widely used by competitive players.

But for people who are more casually picking up the game once in a while it’s probably a nice idea.

I sort of fall into the prior category though so… We’ll see.

Second is the addition of more favoring options in different colors, that way players can more aptly organize their heroes however they want.

I can see this one being much more useful for me… As soon as I figure out exactly what I need this many divisions for.

Perhaps I’ll try to separate out heroes that are good for skill inheriting, or better indicating who has better IVs.

I’ll experiment and get back to you on that.


New Weapon Refinements

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Four heroes have been given new life with new weapon refinements.

To be completely honest, the Tiki improvements are the only ones I really care about, and even there it’s just for young Tiki.

Linde’s refinement to Aura allows her to gain +5 Attack and Speed if she’s within two spaces of a magic unit or cleric. That is a great power boost, but Dark Aura is also a powerful upgrade that she’s had for some time now.

To be fair Merric’s refinement to Excalibur has the exact same effect. But he’s a unit that desperately needs a boost like that from what I understand, even though he also has access to Dark Excalibur. That one just happens to be less useful than Dark Aura.

Tiki’s stands out more to me, mostly, because she was one of the first units I ever summoned and has been a staple on my teams ever since.

Her personal base weapon is absolutely garbage, however. So terrible that everyone replaces it with Lightning Breath almost instinctual.

However, now she has access to Breath of Fog rather than just Flametongue. And Breath of Fog is way better!

Not only is it effective against all dragon units, the Breath restores 10 Health every other turn and ensures her damage goes by the foe’s lowest defensive stat if from a distance. Plus it does 16 base damage and that’s great for a dragon attack!

The only problem with this is the fact that you need to inherit Distant Counter to utilize the Breath fully, whereas Lightning Breath has a two space range built-in.

I don’t know, I suppose I’ll see if it’s worth getting rid of distance in place of power by messing with it. But just know I certainly feel like it could be worth it.


Smaller Changes

Many of the changes made through this update are relatively small things, so I figured I’d lump them all together here.

I’ll be honest, neither of these changes in particular mean much of anything to me.

They’re cool I guess, but they’re such minutia that I can’t be bothered to provide any sort of well thought out, philosophical commentary at like… 2 a.m.

In fact I’m just going to take the easy way out and show off the ‘other changes’ listing before wrapping this sucker up.

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If it wasn’t obvious, I basically wrote this post in two sittings. One during the day, in the middle of sitting around at the RUHS band banquet. The other was during the early, early hours of today where I was a bit too tired to really focus on anything.

Yet I decided to finish this anyway just for the sake of having it out at a proper time. Even though I easily could have waited and gotten this out later in the day.

My brain is stupid like that sometimes. I just love torturing myself.

That said, hopefully you got a good grasp of what this update entailed for the game going forward! If so, let me know what you think is the best part of the update.

In the meantime, I’m going to go pass out. Stay tuned for tomorrow (as of this posts publishing) for part two of this session regarding the new summoning banner!

Lauding the Legendary Lobster

Lauding the Legendary Lobster

Normally I try to have this kind of Fire Emblem Heroes post out early in the morning, but after exploding all over Pokémon news yesterday I couldn’t bring myself to stay up late to write more.

So enjoy this later-than-average look at the Legendary Lobster himself: Supreme Samurai Ryoma.


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RyomaSupreme Samurai

Skill Set:

  • Raijinto (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Kestrel Stance (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Bushido (B Skill)
    • Deals +10 damage when Special triggers.
  • Guidance (C Skill)
    • Infantry and armored allies within two spaces can move to a space adjacent to unit.

Clearly not wanting to be upstaged by his younger sister, the crown prince of Hoshido is here with his first alternate form since the game was released. Instead of being a grounded samurai warrior, he has taken to the skies on a legendary Kinshi mount to bring swift destruction using his legendary electric blade.

As our seventh Legendary Hero, Ryoma brings all water-blessed allies +3 Health and +4 Defense when they enter battle during a water season. Something particularly interesting about the banner this time around is that it actually laid out exactly how legendary hero stat bonuses work:

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This, by extension, also just about confirms that there are only going to be 16 Legendary Heroes all together. Unless they do something like add more elements of course, but that’s a bridge we can cross when we get to it.

I quite like the chart. It’s succinct and shows pretty neatly how the developers have begun to plan things out.

Next presumably is a fire element Legendary Hero with a Resistance buff, and I’m interested to see who they choose to fit that role.

But we’re not here to discuss future content. Let’s discuss current content.

Many of you who know Fire Emblem fairly well like I do probably thought the same thing:

Why the hell is Ryoma a flying unit?

It’s rather bizarre seeing him take a Kinshi mount, because it seems like the only Legendary alt that’s somewhat out of character. Sure, Kinshi are great mythical beasts associated with the Hoshidan royal family, but Hinoka made far more sense riding one than her brother does here.

If anything, I would imagine Ryoma to fit the archetype of someone like the Black Knight better. A hulking armored unit with samurai gear turned up to 11, stomping around like an impenetrable tank that fires back from all distances with his Raijinto.

Would’ve been pretty dope if I say so myself.

Even though that isn’t what we got, what Legendary Ryoma is certainly isn’t anything to scoff at. Sword-wielding fliers are a rare unit type in Heroes, and even if I have a personal bias for the Elincia that has served me so well, the Hoshidan crown prince is imposing to say the least.

Stat-wise he’s near perfect based on what we can see in his legendary battle. Attack and Speed stats that are both around 50 while still having a baffling high defense stat for a flying unit. Even his resistance isn’t so bad, so he’s well-rounded enough to take a hit and retaliate.

In fact, that’s essentially what his base skills are meant for. If he can tank that bow or that magic attack, not only can Ryoma counter attack from a distance, but his attack and speed are buffed by his A Skill and he deals an insane critical hit thanks to the signature Bushido B Skill.

With it, his distant counter Raijinto also acts like a Wo Dao weapon. It’s kinda nuts.

I’ve seen some buzz talking about how Ryoma may just be the strongest Legendary Hero we’ve ever gotten, and I can’t say I disagree. I had expected a complete glass cannon based on his flying attribute, but those defenses don’t lie.

However, he isn’t the only thing available on this summoning banner. Also in the eight percent pool are:

Being blunt about it, the red stones are the only ones I truly care about in this pool of focus units.

Ryoma is obviously the chief goal, but Sigurd and Tiki are both solid options to summon for me as well. Both units are perpetual projects of merging that I tend to be working on, and both are frequently in use in my army. Plus, Tiki is about to get a new legendary weapon, so she’ll be even more fun to see in action.

Beyond that, I already have both the Legendary Nifl sisters and Legendary Grima — though I do find it interesting that Legendary Lyn is not on this banner given the fact that she’s the last one we saw implemented.

The Christmas and New Years units that are returning aren’t exactly my favorite either. I already have Azura and probably wouldn’t bother with anyone from the Christmas side but Tharja.

Though if they brought Tharja back she would be in three different summoning banners at the same time right now… So I can understand the restraint.

The non-special units, Hardin and Innes, just seem kind of random honestly. They’re both good of course, but not necessarily good enough for me to bother pulling them.

So that means we’re just sniping the red orbs fellas, where are those-

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… Oh I see.

Yeah that has been a bit of a pattern for me on this banner so far, just pulling singular red stones. In the case above, Ares was a cool compensation unit since I didn’t have him before, but beyond that I haven’t had a whole lot of luck.

This time I swear I’m going to keep my orb counter above 50, I won’t break that promise. There are still brides waiting in the wings for me somewhere, I hope.

That said, orbs are available through Ryoma’s legendary battle.

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Except if you’re going to try that, you should know it’s a little…

Intense.

The dude basically surrounds himself with long-ranged units so he can wear you down before coming in for the kill. I’ll admit that the map does a great job showcasing why Ryoma is so powerful, but boy that Infernal difficulty hurts when you need to get through so many waves of reinforcements.

Oh well. Even with the Tempest Trial cleaned out for me, hopefully I’ll be able to stock up on some more orbs somewhere or another.

Beyond that I don’t have too much more to say about this Legendary Lobster. What do you think about him? Is he too overpowered? Or just overpowered enough?

Let me know in the comments below, and while you’re at it let me know who you think the next Legendary Hero is going to be! I’m down to start taking bets.

Bridal Heroes bring bouquets to battle once more

Bridal Heroes bring bouquets to battle once more

Hard to believe it has been an entire year since the first June Bride banner came out in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Even harder to believe that we’ve gone an entire year since then and Charlotte still hasn’t been released as a regular unit in-game, to be fair. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Right off the bat, I will say I’m somewhat less enamored with the three new brides than I was with the first four — Cordelia, Charlotte, Caeda and Lyn. Obviously Tharja is a huge plus right off the bat, and I do like some of the skills these heroes are packing… But I may have given myself a case of high expectations this time around.

When the silhouettes teasing these heroes were released, I was dead-set on seeing Faye in the game.

Like sure, NOW we know that Faye isn’t here… But you can’t tell me the outline on the left doesn’t look remotely like her:

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Image courtesy of behindthevoiceactor.com

Based on the hair if it were not in ponytails, if nothing else.

Seriously, how great would it have been to see an Alm-obsessed Faye in-game doing imaginary wedding stuff?!

Okay I’m getting pretty weird right away with this one. Let’s just jump into examining the new heroes and see what they’ve got.


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NinianBright-Eyed Bride

  • Skill Set:Fresh Bouquet (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
      • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Speed +4 to ally and adjacent allies for one turn.
    • Dance (Range = 1)
      • Grants another action to target ally.
    • Chill Attack (B Skill)
      • At start of turn, inflicts Attack -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Attack through its next action.
    • Drive Speed (C Skill)
      • Grants Speed +3 to allies within two spaces during combat.
  • Analysis:I’ve seen lots of people getting very excited about Ninian more than anyone else on this special banner. Personally I don’t have quite as much of a connection to this manakete since I haven’t played her game, so I’m not very gung-ho about summoning her. Her skills are pretty sweet though, making her a nice supportive unit overall. She’s our second flying dancer, and though I’m more attached to Azura, a flying mage unit that also dances is a wonderful combination — especially when she can grant an ally +7 speed and neuter the opponent’s strongest attacking unit each turn. Ninian is probably my lowest priority, but I respect her.

SanakiApostle in White

  • Skill Set:Nifl Frostflowers ( Might = 14 /  Range = 2)
      • Grants Attack +3. During combat, boosts unit’s Attack and Speed by the number of allies within two spaces x2 (Maximum bonus of +6 to each stat).
    • Draw Back (Range = 1)
      • Unit moves one space away from target ally. Ally moves to unit’s previous space.
    • Attack/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
      • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Resistance +5 during combat.
    • Defense/Resistance Link (B Skill)
      • If a movement Assist skill (like Reposition, Shove, Pivot, etc.) is used by this unit or targets this unit, grants Defense and Resistance +6 to unit and target ally or unit and targeting ally for one turn.
  • Analysis:Compared to Ninian, I like Sanaki a lot. Even if I haven’t played the Radiant games either. She was one of my first five-star units in Heroes, and even though I don’t use her very often I quite enjoy throwing suns at people. Bridal Sanaki seems to be creating quite the controversy given that she’s… Something like 10 to 13 years old in canon, which is an issue I’m not really going to touch here. I’m mostly enjoying her appearance for the memes:

    As far as Sanaki the fighter goes, I do like her as a green flying mage better than Spring Camilla, another unit I barely use. Having a legendary weapon name-dropping Nifl is cool, though I prefer Tharja’s variant overall. However, Sanaki really shines thanks to her A and B skills, which grant huge buffs all around for using Reposition and other cool assist skills. I love that, and it’ll probably be worth getting her for it alone.

TharjaObsessive Bride

  • Skill Set:Múspell Fireposy (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
      • Grants Speed +3. During combat, boost unit’s Attack and Speed by number of allies within two spaces x2 (Maximum bonus of +6 to each stat).
    • Rally Attack/Speed (Range = 1)
      • Grants Attack and Speed +3 to target ally for one turn.
    • Attack/Speed Bond (A Skill)
      • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack/Speed +5 during combat.
    • Speed Feint (B Skill)
      • If a Rally Assist skill is used by unit or targets unit, inflicts Speed -7 on foes in cardinal directions of unit through their next actions.
  • Analysis:As usual, Tharja is my main squeeze in this new summoning banner. She was my main ship for Robin back in Awakening, and positivity exudes from her character for me as a result. Also no that isn’t just because she’s obvious porn-bait. Don’t pull that with me. Even if the punk-black wedding dress is something special…
    I may not have gotten Christmas Tharja to really kickstart a Tharja-only team, but I’m going to very much be going after her here. Alongside Ishtar, this red mage infantry girl could help pull together a solid secondary infantry-only team. Plus, as I mentioned in the Sanaki segment, I love the Múspell-varient of her main weapon better. Though that’s mostly just due to how it looks compared to the Nifl flowers. Attack and Speed Bond is also much better than Attack and Resistance Bond in my opinion… Though she lacks a little from the Speed Feint compared to Sanaki’s Link counterpart.

All the eagle-eye viewers in basically every household were also quick to point out that Marth is hiding away in the battle map screenshot at the end of the preview video as an axe-wielding cavalier with a weapon that looks way too big.

Intelligent Systems has confirmed that Marth will be coming as a free-to-play unit in the next Tempest Trials run, which means we’ve got until May 25 to prepare for his arrival.

While cavaliers out of Tempest Trials have never been all that impressive, there are very few axe users in that category, so I’m interested to see if Marth is someone special to look out for. Especially given:

  1. This is Marth’s first alternate release, which is surprising considering he’s essentially the mascot for the series. God knows I always used the hell out of him in Smash Bros.
  2. While it’s the first time Marth has gotten an alt, it’s also the first time (with a sample size of two, granted) that we’re getting a groom on the bridal banner. That’s pretty neat!

Based on his appearance in the story missions, it does seem like Marth could be a decent unit with the right stat spread. An axe that grants +4 Attack to himself and his allies, Drive Attack to boost his allies further, a dual rally skill, distant battle protection through a Special Attack and Wings of Mercy.

Not too terrible honestly!

But we can’t really say for sure until he’s actually released to the public. So let’s talk about something I can have some input on for now: My summoning luck.

Though actually I don’t have too much to say on that particular subject. I only started with 60 orbs today and didn’t want to fall too far below that, even with the 12 orbs from the story missions getting added onto that.

I didn’t summon anything special with that frugal offering. The only actual summon of any note was this cute little combination:

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Four-star Chrom and Robin coming in together.

Cute? Yes.

Useful? Well…

Not so much.

Oh well, at least we have an entire month to grab these special bridal heroes. Honestly I’d be pretty happy to get any of the three, so I’m not too concerned. I just don’t want to walk out empty-handed.

In the meantime, was the story that opened the door to 12 extra orbs worth paying attention to?


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I’m going to level with everybody here. It has been far too long since we’ve had something simple, quick and pleasant to deal with in terms of story in Fire Emblem Heroes.

As much as I’ve been digging the hardcore main story progression we’ve seen recently, a little bit of fun with a goofy Paralogue isn’t so bad here and there.

This one certainly starts off goofy enough:

This particular part of the exchange makes me laugh pretty hard, honestly. My friend Jonathan was desperate to see a bridal Anna show up on this banner after the Order of Heroes siblings came back as special units in the spring banner earlier this year.

But oh well, I suppose that just wasn’t in the cards.

Just like how it wasn’t in the cards for Anna to get her way and stay home without having to get gussied up for the June Bride shenanigans. That push mostly comes from Sharena, who seems to insist she has a friend she wants to help catch the special wedding bouquet that’s a prize for this seasonal competition.

More on that later, however.

First we have to deal with Marth, who surprisingly has a lot to say despite being a character who will not show up until May 25.

Cute callback to Caeda being on the last banner, honestly.

I can totally see myself pairing up the wedding Marth and Caeda once he’s released into the game. It’ll be beautiful!

But not as beautiful as the character he’s hanging out with in this first match.

Too creepy again? My apologies… I just love the design Tharja got in this seasonal alt. If my adoration for shiny Mega Gardevoir wasn’t enough of an indicator, I think black wedding dresses are hella cute.

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Image courtesy of Bulbapedia.net

… I’m just going to move on before people start accusing me of liking weird things.

What’s that? Bride Sanaki is next?

Dramatic irony, you are a cruel mistress.

Granted, I will admit Intelligent Systems is playing a little fast-and-loose with the whole young girl thinking about her “feminine charms” thing… But come on people. The whole vitriol surrounding this decision is ridiculous all the same.

Especially because she’s so darn cute about it when you finish the match.

She cute, let’s be real.

I’m also continuing to not do myself any favors in the sounding like a pedophilic creep department. So let’s move into the final battle.

As usual, all four heroes again come together to face off, hoping to win the special bouquet.

Also as usual, they’re pretty easy to dispatch.

The epilogue following that final battle brings about an… Interesting set of circumstances, I suppose.

Just as quick as she’s willing to drag my good name into this argument, Anna also tries to pull the rug out from what she perceives as Sharena just trying to do a fake “for a friend” argument to hide her own self-interest.

I can’t fully recall if the Sharena likes your character plot point was something especially relevant earlier in the Fire Emblem Heroes canon, but it did feel a bit out of left field getting thrown in here.

Especially because she ain’t wearing no wedding dress, Anna. Give her that sweet black dress and we’ll talk.

Man this can’t get much worse for me, can it?

At least Sharena gives some credit to Anna’s claim by acting so suspicious about it. The whole “I can’t say for who” thing is a pretty lame work-around after all.


All self-deprecating humor about creepy anime video game obsessions aside, I suppose I don’t have too much to complain about with this new summoning focus.

The units look rather strong and have nice designs.

The paralogue story is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of all the fast-paced main story missions recently.

Memes are abound with people afraid to touch the Sanaki jailbait.

Plus, most importantly of all, everything was short. Which means I get to go to bed at a decent time so I can get up for my Managing Editor job interview with the Daily Titan later today. All feels right in the world.

What do you think of the 2018 bridal units? Are you looking to put any of them on your registry? Or is this a reception you’d like to pass on?

Let me know in the comments down below!

The Summer 2018 Initiative

The Summer 2018 Initiative

“There was an idea,” said a much more popular and talented man than I at the crux of one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken, both in the universe of its canon and the world of comic book-based cinema.

This post here… Has absolutely nothing to do with that particular idea whatsoever.

However, the project I’m introducing here was certainly an idea I had a long time ago that I’ll finally be bringing into fruition.

Last summer kicked off with a dumb attempt at writing a sonnet that I thought was a good idea for whatever reason. It was hokey and didn’t actually do anywhere, so overall it was a forgettable idea.

This summer I’m going to do something a little more ambitious. Following the advice I’ve heard from many successful creative figures that I look up to, I will be trying to write something — anything really — here on my blog every day this summer.

That’s right, finals may have just ended, but now that I’ve spent all weekend literally pouring hours into Switch Minecraft with my friends (not that that’s going to end anytime soon either), I’m ready to make sure I keep my brain working during this long break.

What should everyone expect to see? Well, like I said: Anything.

First on the docket is going to be a Fire Emblem Heroes post tomorrow. Because of course it is. But after that the sky’s the limit!

Talking about more video games I’m currently invested in. Talking about whatever work I do for Gladeo or the Titan over the summer. Talking about family or friend trips and hangouts. Talking about just the most random stuff that I’ve always had an inkling to post about but never had the drive to do it.

Given the need I’ll create for myself to have something out every day, all of my weirdly obscure ideas will probably come out of the woodwork. Even if it’s just me rambling about a subject completely out of left field for 500 words or so.

I just want to keep my creative juices flowing and discipline myself more, and unfortunately Minecraft just doesn’t fill the particular writing niche I’m thinking about despite it being an ostensively great creative tool.

Something like this project is probably as close as I’ve gotten to fulfilling that whole “work in progress” thing I’ve been using as a makeshift blog site title for the last two-and-a-half years (assuming you don’t count my growing catalog of stories), so hopefully it’s something you all enjoy.

Also, hopefully it’s something that doesn’t just burn me out. But hey, I guess only time will tell in that case!

Dancing with the Genealogical God and Goddess

Dancing with the Genealogical God and Goddess

This post here is part two of my big two-part Fire Emblem Heroes update from the last week. I’m doing it all post-hoc since I’ve been heavily focused on the end of the school semester, but I didn’t want to leave things on the back burner forever.

If you want to see part one, where I talked about the Version 2.5.0 update, read all about it here.



I’ve had no qualms talking about the fact that I have zero history with many Fire Emblem games in the series’ long history. In a sense that creates a dichotomy with my Heroes posts between new heroes who I adore (See: Kinshi Hinoka) and new heroes who I have no connection with (See: The Thracia 776 heroes).

This post is going to be more of the latter. I don’t have much to say about these characters outside of whatever context I’ve gotten from heroes that joined the fray in the app before them.

However, despite my lack of in-game context, I do have a lot of positive things to say about their skills and my excitement to summon them. So let’s see what we’re working with!


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  • AresBlack Knight
  • Skill Set:
    • Dark Mystletainn (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
      • Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count -1). If Special triggers before or during combat, grants Special cooldown count -2 after combat.
    • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
      • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
    • Brazen Attack/Defense
      • At start of combat, if unit’s HP ≤ 80 percent, grants Atk/Def +7 during combat.
    • Seal Defense/Resistance
      • Inflicts Def/Res -5 on foe through its next action after combat.
  • Analysis:
    • Ares lives up to his name sake, the Greek god of war, quite well. His father’s Mystletainn was already a powerful weapon, but with the new upgrade it allows him to trigger Special attacks that have three-turn cooldowns (like Draconic Aura, for example) in a single blow. That’s kind of a scary amount of power for a unit with such high range as a cavalier, especially one that strikes hard when weakened against enemies he can weaken further. Definitely a powerful unit to grab.
  • LeneYearning Dancer
  • Skill Set:
    • Safeguard (Might = 14 / Range = 1)
      • If foe initiates combat, grants Defense +7 during combat.
    • Dance (Range = 1)
      • Grants another action to target ally.
    • Firestorm Dance
      • If Sing or Dance is used, grants Attack and Speed +3.
    • Sword Valor
      • If unit survives, all sword allies on team get 2x SP.
  • Analysis:
    • In all honestly, Lene is probably the weakest of the three in this banner. Or, perhaps it’s not fair to call her “the weakest” considering dancers are in a league of their own, but she’s the least valuable to pull in my opinion. The defense boost from her weapon is great to have considering a dancer’s frailty, and the multi-faceted boost given by Firestorm Dance is nice… Though arguably Performing Arts Azura had a better boost inherent to her weapon.
  • IshtarThunder Goddess
  • Skill Set:
    • Mjölnir (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
      • Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count -1). If unit initiates combat, grants Speed +6 during combat.
    • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
      • Treats foe’s Defense and Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
    • Swift Sparrow
      • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
    • Vantage
      • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and foe initiates combat, unit can counterattack before foe’s first attack.
    • Odd Attack Wave
      • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Attack +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).
  • Analysis:
    • Ishtar is, unapologetically, my current video game girl crush. That’s right I said it. But no, it is not just because she has a fairly provocative set of poses drawn up. As the inspiration for Reinhardt and carrier of a tome named after Thor’s hammer, it’s clear the developers wanted to have her live up to those namesakes as much as they did with Ares. She hits hard and gives herself massive boosts to both attack and speed quite often, which makes her a force to really be reckoned with. Plus, she can hit an opponent before they can kill her if she has a little health gone, which may just be a nice saving grace here or there. Long story short: She’s the one that I want (hoo, hoo, hoo).

Alright so I’m trying a new layout for the character analysis here. Let me know what you think, because it’s a bit more labor intensive but I feel like it lays out on a page way nicer.

My more extensive standalone ‘analysis’ section for each character also lays out what I would usually fill this break with, so I can jump straight into my current summoning experiences.

They’re uhh… Not great so far.

In my first set of summons, I did pull a five-star red hero. Unfortunately…

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It was Soleil.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Soleil. One of my favorite characters from Fire Emblem Fates. In fact, when she first arrived in the game, I blew all of my orbs just to summon her!

But then she got downgraded to summonable at four-star rarity. Since then, I’ve summoned her quite a few times.

Maybe I’ll make her my next merging project once I’m done with Cordelia… And Nino… And Eirika…

Yeah I’m working on a few.

That said, I can’t say I’m particularly excited to have pulled Soleil when there are two red heroes on this banner that are both worth getting — one moreso, but still.

In terms of summoning on this banner as a whole, I am a huge fan of how strong these units look so I’ll continue to spend some orbs. As far as how many, I’m not too sure. At the very least I’m going to try to keep myself above 50 orbs minimum, as the new calendar that came out recently confirms that special heroes are coming out on May 10.

Will we see more brides coming into the game? Who knows. All I know is I’ll try to save some orbs until then.

That said, the story section always nets me some orbs, and the plot is getting exciting overall. Let’s see what they’ve got in store for us this time around:


 

 

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“Hellfire” is a pretty apt name for the series of levels in which the Order of heroes finally leaves the frozen tundras of Nifl to walk into the volcanic landscapes of Surtr’s homeland, Múspell.

Even though for some reason we needed a few chapters as a transition where everyone walked to Nifl, but they just decided to whisk us to this new location through a portal.

But I digress, because I’m not here to discuss the clunky parts of the story.

When they arrive, Fjorm seems to still be feeling the aftereffects of the Rite of Frost (to a currently unknown end), but nobody has a lot of time to reflect on what’s going on.

 

Among the first strike party is a new significant character, Helbindi. He’s a general under Surtr who looks… Interesting, to say the least.

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Yeah. Not sure I even have to say anything about that face of his.

After you defeat him at the entrance to the Kingdom of Flames, he retreats back to his fortress where you find out just a little more about his actually kindhearted nature.

 

 

Oh yes, that’s right. Helbindi isn’t the only new character unveiled in this chapter. We also have Ylgr, the youngest sibling in the Nifl royal family (alongside Fjorm, Gunnthrá and their currently unseen brother Hrid). She’s cute, she’s kind of sassy and she brings out the best in this new villain.

So all-and-all a pretty great character, for just being introduced.

 

 

Gotta love that dysfunctional sister/brother Stockholm relationship we’ve got going on.

From there, the Order makes their way through the typical mission set of fighting our new Genealogy heroes in various configurations. No real plot relevance, just minor original game references to give them characterization.

My only real thought process throughout the three filler battles actually went back to a character we don’t see: Veronica.

Yeah that’s right, the good old princess of the Embla Empire. Obviously she was the one who would have made the portal between Nifl and Múspell, as well as the one who would have gone to get the Genealogy heroes.

But at the end of the last chapter, we found out that Surtr was going to bring her back to his Kingdom to use her as a sacrifice for a ritual of sorts. If so, why would they still be giving her the chance to possibly escape their grasp by going around signing contracts with new characters?

I don’t know, perhaps that’s getting too into the weeds when thinking about what’s going behind the scenes, but I’d like to see them show what she does in the background once in a while.

That said, the lull of thought dies off quickly when the final battle starts with a cutscene featuring our favorite new Stockholm brother/sister pair.

 

 

 

Things actually get fairly deep as Ylgr digs up some past details about Helbindi’s real sister, and how she must be the reason why he can’t bring himself to hurt the young girl.

Like I said before, for a couple of characters who just got thrown into the game, I quite enjoy how much development and intrigue is being put into their interactions.

 

The second battle against Helbindi goes rather smoothly, with a little bit of playful banter between him and Fjorm leading into it.

If you consider sizing one another up ‘playful,’ that is.

Once you win the fight, the fate of Helbindi seems vague:

 

On the one hand, it’s typical for a Fire Emblem death prattle to sound like this. Calling out to a loved one, saying they need more time to live.

But with Helbindi being such a fresh, interesting character, is Intelligent Systems really going to kill him off right away? Or will he slip away to find his sister, for us to find later?

Who knows right now, I suppose. Time will tell and all that.

Now is not the time to mull it over, because the plot quickly moves into a different beat.

 

 

Remember that she said this, it’s actually going to be important in a second.

Introductions go around, and Fjorm begins to cough again, which offers Ylgr an opportunity to show some of her good nature. As well as hint at the fact that she may be some sort of cleric if added into the game.

 

When the plan to move forward comes out, Ylgr asks to come along, but does not seem to get a very positive reception.

 

 

Then everyone agrees to bring the sister along, and chapter 9 ends on a… Sort of quiet note.

However, it’s the underlying details that make this scene as interesting as it is.

See I cut a few panels out that show Ylgr being introduced to almost everyone in the main circle of the Order… Except the player character.

Yet the player character is called out specifically. That, in a sense, has become the basis of a fan theory that my friend Jonathan pointed out to me. It seems as though Ylgr might actually be the shapeshifting trickster Loki in disguise.

After all, she’s shown off the ability to hide as almost anybody quite often before, and it would explain not only the convenience of a little girl escaping the clutches of an evil empire but also the convenience of her knowing that name without being told it.

Feh Plot Meme

Yeah it is, Feh.

I quite like this theory, and I can easily imagine it actually being where this plot is going, so I wanted to bring it up here.

While I’ll be disappointed if things go in such a predictable direction, I am impressed that the fanbase is so cognizant of such minor details that they’re able to extrapolate on them so quickly.

But I suppose we won’t find out whether or not this is the case until the next few chapters hit. With a special set of characters coming soon, however, there’s no guarantee that’ll happen for some time now.

So stay patient, everyone. You know I’ll be here to talk about plot as it’s developing.


That’s all I’ve got today I’m afraid. With this post I have officially caught up with everything going on in the game.

Until May 20 when the special heroes drop. Because you know, no rest for the wicked and all that jazz.

In the meantime, let me know what you thought about this two-parter in the comments. I know it’s really no different from just doing two posts a few days apart when they were first happening, but I like to think there’s something special about putting them under the same umbrella.

While you’re at it, let me know what you think of the new set-up I’m trying for establishing details on the new heroes added in a summoning banner. I think I’ll keep it up for the next few banners just to see if it sticks at least, but I’d love some feedback all the same!

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

I’ve been a bit busy throughout this last week finishing the Spring 2018 semester, so I wanted to make sure I spent the weekend talking about recent updates to Fire Emblem Heroes.

Because really what else do I do with my free time?

There was a large-scale update and a brand new summoning banner put out over the last couple days, so in today’s post I’m going to focus on the 2.5.0 Update and tomorrow I’ll focus on the latest Genealogy characters.

With that said, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.



The 2.5.0 Update is here, and it brings along a number of changes to existing game modes and aesthetics throughout the game.

There is not exactly a lot that’s “substantive” to this new version of the game, unlike previous versions that did things like add entirely new ways to play. As a result this update update (totally not clunky at all) will probably be on the shorter side as I just go through my thoughts on what is new.


Arena Updates

 

Easily the largest changes of the bunch came to the OG Arena.

BECAUSE NOW IT’S IN A DIFFERENT COLOR!

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That sweet, sweet dark tone really makes a true mirror to reflect the darkness in my soul as my units smite all others in their path.

Okay fine, that’s not actually the blunt of the update to the game’s Arena mode, but I did want to point out the fact that the assets were altered because… I’m really not sure why they were altered.

Were the original colors not visually pleasing enough?

Is this darkness what the developers wanted to reflect with their competitive mode all along?

The world may never know.

The actual major update to this mode is the shift from seven battle chains to five, and the subsequent item system that accompanied it:

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I do like the idea of making overall season chain necessities shorter, as well as adding an item for each battle in the chain to entice people to get a ranking at least once.

However, it does bug me that they decided to go from seven battles to five.

Seriously whose bright idea was it to take a game mode where the swords used to take part come in intervals of three and not make the overall requirements come out to some interval of three? It’s honestly kind of asinine and bugs me from a part of myself that I can’t readily explain in such a short timeframe.

Luckily they decided not to make me chuck my phone at a wall by also implementing Bonus Ally benefits for a season’s token heroes.

The Bonus Ally system, in which the characters specifically named get additional stat buffs if you use them, has always made Tempest Trials a great deal more fun. I still can’t get over the time when Christmas Lissa tanked everything during her Tempest Trial, or when Reinhardt did just a few weeks ago when his retrain came out.

Now that Arena characters get this same kind of boost, it makes everything feel so much more copacetic when it comes to summoning new banner heroes.

Now, not only do we get new characters for the catalog, but those characters are more likely to help us get better benefits in the Arena seasons. All things considered it’s a genius addition, and just about makes up for the whole lack of even numbering.


New Weapons

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A couple of beloved characters are finally getting the special weapon treatment they deserve.

It’s one of the things I really appreciate about how Intelligent Systems has handled updating their game over time, actually. While most units inevitably get power crept, more stuff is added to benefit the older heroes to ensure they still maintain relevance — either in battle or through skill inheritance.

The latest update brought three heroes back into the limelight. Two by granting brand new weapons and one by adding a special upgrade.

  • Camilla — Bewitching Beauty
    • Everyone’s favorite over-sexualized older sister (something the universe will have to remind me never to write out again) has a brand new weapon, giving her further utility than she was able to achieve with a Brave Axe. Camilla’s Axe has twice the might as a Brave Axe+ and grants her +4 Attack and Speed if there is a cavalry or flying unit nearby. While this does make her a more effective member of a flier emblem team, it might arguably be worse than a Brave Axe depending on who you ask. It is a cute reference to the fact that all of her siblings are on horseback, though.
  • Corrin (male) — Fateful Prince
    • Corrin is a unit that literally everybody has wanted to see get a cool upgrade in the Weapon Refinery. Yato was such a neat weapon in Fates that it’s not hard to imagine why. Though I personally think it’s a missed opportunity not to offer him three upgrade paths for the Yato based on the three paths it can take in Fates, the upgrade we got is a neat reference too. With the upgraded Yato, allies who have a support with Corrin gain +4 to all stats when within two spaces of him. Somewhat situational, but like I said a cool little reference. The scary part of this comes when, as my friend told me, you can have three upgraded Corrins provide +4 to every stat of an ally three times over… THAT is dangerous.
  • Clair — Highborn Flier
    • Like Camilla, Clair’s Silver Lance can now be upgraded into the Rhomphaia. Coming from Shadows of Valentia, the weapon adds one more might point and grants her super effective damage against armored and cavalry opponents. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s just a great upgrade that makes Clair that much more viable. Unfortunately, it cannot be passed onto another unit. That’s really the only downside as far as I can tell.

While all three of these characters have been improved by their upgrades (except debatably Camilla), I’m not sure I’m more enticed to use any of them.

Perhaps if we get Scarlet to appear one day I’ll make her a perfect husband Corrin to turn her into the relentless beast she always deserved to be. But that’s a long shot at this point, so I’ll continue to dream…


Tap Battle and Rival Domains

The two images above essentially sum up everything that has been changes with these game modes. So I won’t break down the information, but I will briefly react to it all.

Tap battles have never been a game mode that I enjoy. For the most part I don’t like them because they’re seriously underutilized. Seriously Intelligent Systems, awards only once per level when there are four different ways you can play that level? With no benefits for completing all four varieties?

Plus, don’t even get me started on the fact that music repeats between versions of the game mode despite putting gaps between them.

In a way, the addition of hero merit boosting for heroes who participate does help. It encourages playing through those four different varieties of the levels at least.

But my issues, for the most part, do still stand.

Rival Domains, however, have had an improvement that I can get behind more readily. Not only have the selection of characters been pre-determined rather than randomized, which makes it easier to go through and learn how to properly be a stage, but they also made it easier to beat by restricting the ability of enemies to attack after warping.

Simple changes, but effective in terms of making things more straight forward and easy to defeat. Unlike with the tap battles, this actually makes it way more enticing for me to play the game mode.

Thus, I deem this section a success and a failure. Hopefully tap battles will eventually get better enough that I feel they’re worth bothering with more often.


Tutorial Adjustments

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So this is another category where there was a significant change that I frankly don’t have too much to say about.

Essentially, there have been adjustments to the game’s tutorial mode to bring it more up-to-snuff with how much the game has developed in the time since it came out. For veteran players like me, that means next to nothing. I did the tutorial a long, long time ago.

The developers knew this was the case for many of their players and offered up some extra awards.

As the picture above shows, most of the rewards were feathers and badges. A good amount of them too. But what really stood out was the character:

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When we played through the tutorial originally, the first hero everyone received after the original three members of the Order of Heroes was Virion from Fire Emblem Awakening.

Now players receive Takumi from Fates, who is not only a better character but a generally more relevant one. So veteran players got an extra Takumi too.

I appreciate the gesture, as well as the opportunity to give another unit close counter.


Additional Changes

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Alright, while this picture here sums up everything else that’s changed pretty succinctly, there were a few other things I noted that I wanted to point out.

First off, look back at the second bullet up on the list there. Apparently some options are available in the Sacred Seal Force that are new, but I have not been able to figure out what they are.

I sort of imagined that meant there were going to be new seals to forge but…

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Nope.

Oh well. Some should come eventually, right?

… Right?

Well, I digress for now. That’s a story for another day probably.

As I’ve mentioned here or there throughout this post, there are also a lot of aesthetic changes that came from this update.

For example, the main maps screen has a similar visual change to the arena screen.

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Then there are smaller visual tweaks, like the inclusion of an indication as to which units get bonus points in rival domains.

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But hey, none of these are as important as a single change that’s hidden away on the menu screen.

See this option?

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Well… Now we can do this.

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Isn’t it just beautiful?

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I could stare at it all day. *Insert crying tear here*


And that, ladies and mentlegen, is a not-so-short summary of everything new in Fire Emblem Heroes this week.

Er… MOSTLY everything.

As I mentioned at the beginning, there was also a new summoning banner dropped the other day. But this post is already getting a bit long in the tooth, so stay tuned for part 2 coming out tomorrow.

Or, if you’re reading this way in the future, just check it out through this link here.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this update in the comments down below! What aspect of it do you think is the best? What part do you think is the most disappointing? I’d love to hear all about it.

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

Welcome to what may just be my last Entertainment Beat Report.  Later today I’m heading back over to Cal State Fullerton so I can show this little experiment off to my professor for a grade, and I haven’t decided whether or not I want to keep it going after that.

On one hand, it’s been cool keeping up a little more with the video game industry where I can.

But on the other hand, I do just kind of feel like I’m latching onto things and rambling about them. Which is my aesthetic around here to be fair, but it’s a lot of effort on my end for just that.

I don’t know, I’ll have the internal dialogue with myself on the subject later.

For now, let’s talk video games.


Monster Hunter Generations Returns

Okay so… This one is pretty much exclusively for me.

MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS ULTIMATE IS COMING TO THE SWITCH?!

Like. Wow. Totally didn’t expect that announcement this morning and I’m already pretty hyped for it. Even if the game isn’t coming until the end of the summer… Curse you, late August release date.

Ever since Monster Hunter World came out, I’ve felt pretty left out just watching my friends get to play together on their PS4s.

But now. Now I will get to play with them once again on a console that I own. In a world I’ve already mastered with hundreds of hours of playtime. In a play style I’m still accustomed to.

On a system that will not only look more amazing than the 3DS, but will still allow me to go play locally with my friends as well as offering online play. Plus all sorts of new monsters will be available as per the ‘ultimate’ version tradition!

I’m just going to kick back and savor this one for a while as I wait impatiently.

At this point, it isn’t a question of ‘if’ I’ll get the game… But whether or not I’ll transfer my hundreds of hours of experience from the original game onto the Switch version. Could be fun to start over? But I’m not sure.

I’ve got a few months to figure it out at least.


Nintendo Switch will receive new charger accessory

Keeping on the Nintendo train, this may seem like not a big deal for people who don’t own a Nintendo Switch. But as someone who owns and plays one rather frequently, this new addition to the accessory line-up is actually pretty huge.

Starting on July 13, 2018, players will be able to buy a $20 charger that not only costs far less than the TV-docking port, but also has an adjustable stand allowing for a more convenient hands-off experience than the current kick-stand offers.

Just looking at the picture, this thing seems like a phenomenal idea… That should have been released at launch.

But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

This just feels like a must-buy for Switch owners to me, and while I’m disappointed we’ve had to deal without it until now, I’m very excited to get one in the near future. Thank god it’s only $20.


Overwatch League grand finals to be held in Brooklyn

As the title to this section suggests, Blizzard announced Wednesday that the grand finals for their eSports tournament, the Overwatch League, will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in July.

According to an article by Variety, the finals will be about a month-and-a-half after the regular season ends (on June 17), and following a postseason playoff at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank.

Finalists will be competing for $1.4 million… Which isn’t too bad for a video game competition, I’d say.

Hell, I’d love to get $1.4 million for playing some games.

Oh well. Maybe someday, if I keep working on my Pokémon competitive skills or something.


Bungie Developer apologizes to fans

So this is an interesting little thing my friend Mitchell pointed out specifically, as a big fan of Destiny.

A few weeks ago I talked about how Bungie was planning on hosting fans to talk about how they would improve the rocky follow-up to their popular shooter.

However, it seems like all the bad blood hasn’t quite fizzled out yet.

On May 7, a fan replied to developer Josh Hamrick’s tweet about being excited for an expansion to Destiny 2:

Then, Hamrick replied to that reply.

That’s a pretty serious statement for what could have just been blowing off a butthurt fan.

I don’t exactly have a lot to say about Destiny or the state of its future as a game series, but I just wanted to point this out because it’s an awesome little example of a developer being respectful to the feelings of his fanbase.


Walmart ruins E3 2018

That’s it, that’s the story.

Okay fine, hyperbole aside. Walmart Canada made waves in the gaming sphere this week by putting out retail listings for upcoming games that may have spoiled some games that might be announced at E3 later this year, according to Polygon.

Among the games that got shown off were Borderlands 3, Lego DC Villains, Gears of War 5 and more.

Obviously these are kind of like leaks, so I can’t necessarily confirm nor deny whether the games that were put out here are legitimately coming soon. That’s why I buried this one under the other stories I talked about here.

However, apparently game developers are having a good time poking back at Walmart for their mistake, as Polygon also points out with Bethesda’s A+ response to the Rage 2 leak.


That should sum up basically all the big stuff I’ve picked up over the last week. It’s honestly been rather quiet, which made this an easier week to wrap up this project on.

… If this is where I’m wrapping this project up. Again, I still haven’t decided.

Though considering I always do this sort of thing, I’ll broach the question to my audience. Do you enjoy these posts? If so, let me know. I’ll be happy to keep them going.

Also, as usual, let me know if there was any big gaming news I missed. I’m almost positive there is somewhere in this big, wide world of ours.