Tag: Paralogue

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

If anything, this post will have taught me that title puns can be hard.

Knowing that a Feh Channel update was scheduled last night, I’ve been saving up some orbs for a little while. While that’s slowed down my efforts to get a witch Nowi, I figured there was a good chance he announcements made during the update would be worthwhile.

Sometimes, a gamer’s intuition is spot-on.

If you want to check out the Channel update, I’m putting it up above here. Personally I haven’t had a ton of time to dissect it because I’ve been busy doing Daily Titan stuff (as you’ll see later this afternoon more than likely), but I know there’s tons and tons of interesting goodies coming in the near future.

One of those goodies happens to be relevant today, however. So that’s what we’re going to be chatting about today.

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Apparently, Intelligent Systems is keeping on the idea of “Brave Heroes” based on community preference at the inception of Fire Emblem Heroes. Frankly, I think it’s a welcome idea… Even if my favorite character has still yet to show up.

One day, Neimi. One day.

This time around, they’re taunting me too. Taunting my by including one of the best characters from the Sacred Stones that aren’t Neimi – Or, technically two of the best characters, but one will be coming later.

  • LuteProdigy
    • Alright let’s break this down really quick. Lute. Is. Amazing. From what my reddit-browsing friends have told me, Lute is really beloved and popular, which is a sentiment I tend to think I embody quite eagerly as well. She’s one of the best characters in Sacred Stones for both her battle skills and her personality, which is well-known for being equal parts cocky and quirky due to her early life living as a magical prodigy in an isolated forest village alongside her highly pious friend (and husband in all of my play throughs of the game) Artur. In Heroes, she comes with a new Weirding Tome that grants +3 speed and has a speed ploy effect. Beyond that she can rally Attack and Resistance on an ally, she has a natural HP and Resistance boost and she comes with a Resistance Ploy as well. Arguably she has the worst skills of the new heroes… But hey, sentimentality means a lot for me here.
    • Also did I mention she’s probably the only character who has a single word title? It’s pretty hilarious.
  • MiaLady of Blade
    • When the Radiance games hit Heroes a little whole ago I talked about how I have very little experience with them outside of Ike in Super Smash Bros. That hasn’t changed, so Mia isn’t really in my wheelhouse of understanding. I do really like her art in this game though, so she certainly has that going for her. She’s a mercenary (because who isn’t from these games apparently) who takes multiple sides to pay off her debts and eagerly spars with Ike whenever she has the opportunity. In Heroes she comes with a Resolute Blade that grants her +3 attack while boosting special attacks by 10 points, Luna as a special attack to be boosted, a skill called flashing blade that adds a cooldown charge to special attacks when she has higher speed and vantage. Good old reliable vantage. Can’t complain too much here, honestly.
  • DorcasSerene Warrior
    • The Blazing Blade follows the same pattern of experience for me as the Radiance titles. In other words, I have no experience playing the Blazing Blade, though I have played as Roy in Smash Bros. Amazing how that seems to tie together, huh? That said, I have next to no experience with Dorcas either. Lute gets all the love this time around, sorry man. In my research I see that Dorcas is good friends with Bartre, commonly the butt of jokes for being a useless but frequent pull when summoning. Good sign.  He does also love his family greatly and does everything to protect them though… So I guess things balance out somewhere along the way. In Heroes, he comes with a Stout Tomahawk that grants ranged counterattacks, Draconic Aura to boost attack, an ability called Fierce Stance that boosts his attack by 6 when attacked, Quick Riposte to make automatic follow-up attacks when damaged and Infantry Pulse to lower his special cooldown when he has higher health. All and all a pretty solid looking set, honestly. He seems like a great axe user, even if I don’t much care for him as a character.

Once again, the story behind the Paralogue for these Heroes doesn’t do too much to catch my interest… Besides involving Lute, of course. That said, this story-based section should go fairly quickly.

Fingers crossed.


As usual, three missions that provide nine orbs all together are here in this Paralogue – with an extra three through missions, of course.

Normally I wouldn’t say too much about the menu screen. But… Well, what can I say. I’m a bit upset that Lute isn’t on the photo for the mission listing. Or on the bonus daily items listing for that matter.

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Why guys? Why does Lute get the short end of the stick?

Anyway, I digress.

This Paralogue follows the Order of Heroes as they return to protect the same land that was under attack back when the first Brave Heroes were arriving on the scene. When they arrive, they first find Mia and Lute… Well, doing their things.

Good ol’ cocky Lute. Gotta love her.

Once the two of them are beaten into the ground, you move on to the second map, which has a nice surprise waiting within:

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Joshua returns from the Sacred Stones, bringing with him a classic gambling addiction. He’s an absolutely wonderful and fun character in his original game who has a lot of depth, so I’m glad to see he’s getting some time in the limelight again. He’s also the originator of my love for Swordmaster units. Have you seen the critical animation for Swordmasters in Sacred Stones?

It’s incredible. ’nuff said.

As a matter of fact, he’s going to get more time in the limelight soon, as it seems a new Tempest Trial is on the way (presumably Sacred Stones themed <3) where he’s going to be the reward character. Plus, his title proclaims him to be the “Tempest King.” An odd choice for his original game canon, but not all that odd if you consider he’s going to have an important role in the story of Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with him, in fact!

Unfortunately, for now he doesn’t get much more than a cameo. A wonderful, snarky little cameo. Then, once he’s gone, the rest of the story goes on without much interruption… Or excitement, unfortunately. Right up until the end when you free everyone from their contracts.

If this focus didn’t have heroes I care about from my favorite Fire Emblem game, I feel like it would frankly be a little underwhelming. Seriously they picked great characters to represent Sacred Stones.

Even if they didn’t pick the best one.

Come on Intelligent Systems, you better make things right one of these days. I’m still holding out for the best archer.


I still find myself questioning the decision to call this banner the “farfetched heroes” banner. I understand to a certain extent that they’re all quirky characters who seem to have personalities that bounce off of one another, but I still don’t know why that particular title was chosen.

I’m not going to complain too much about it, however, because I’m still hoping to pull Lute sometime soon.

Oh that’s right, I mentioned saving orbs earlier for this right? Well… I saved up about 40 orbs. Didn’t get a Lute. Didn’t get anything in fact, which is why I kind of skipped out on talking about it.

Please game… I won’t give you shit for skipping out on Neimi anymore. Just love me again. I promise to keep feeding you the orbs you crave.

Alright, when I start giving weird ultimatums to a video game, it’s definitely time to go to bed.

Like I said before, I’ll likely be posting again tonight about two articles I’ve published in the paper, and otherwise I’ll likely be busy writing yet another article for the paper. Because there’s never any rest.

Except for Thanksgiving week next week, which will be a godsend. Plus, it will probably give me the opportunity to do a deeper dive into the Feh Channel update, which I’ll really have to do sooner or later.

Until then, tell me what you think of these new heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited about Lute as I am? Or has Mia caught your eye? Or Dorcas for that matter, can’t leave the big, strong man out of things.

Okay for real, time for bed. Catch you all next time.

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Spooky Scary Summonings

Spooky Scary Summonings

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

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

He says knowing all he would do is invite spoilers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about all sorts of gems hidden away.

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

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

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

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

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Oh. Oh I see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously look at these level designs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that was a load of help.

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

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

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

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

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


Editor’s Note: 

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

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


Editor’s Note Part 2: 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

A song of Awakening and Fates

A song of Awakening and Fates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Image courtesy of gamerguides.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That purpose being offering opportunity to earn extra orbs.

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

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

Got me a special Azura, baby!

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

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

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

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

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

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

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

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

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

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

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

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Which you can watch here if you’re interested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who did I choose, I hear you ask?

Well…

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well… They don’t really explain that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And that’s all she wrote.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Swords are great.


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

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

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

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


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

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

Fire Emblem: The Broken Spirit

Fire Emblem: The Broken Spirit

Fire Emblem Heroes finally did it. I finally know how it is to feel like a broken man. The game has sunk my metaphorical battleship. Game over, man. Insert other overly-dramatic “woe-is-me” sentiments here.

For those of you who are just tuning in, last time on Dragon Ball Z we were given a brand new Hero Fest banner featuring the illustrious Ike, Ninian, Julia and Genny. Like the easily excitable young lad I am, I quickly began pouring my stockpile of orbs into this banner considering it had such a short run time and starts with an increased chance to summon a 5 star focus hero.

Why not? I figured any team I have would vastly benefit from having the all star heavy hitting Ike, the powerful dragon dancer Ninian or the fan favorite healer Genny.

But then the rot set in. Many, many summons have gone by since the event started and I’m all the way up at having a 6.56 percent chance of seeing a five star focus hero.

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For those uninitiated in the game, that is quite a long time going at it without seeing a five star appear. Almost, some might argue, a ridiculously long time.

On top of that, the new swapped four and three star summoning chance makes it so ‘energy pulses’ indicating the summon of a higher leveled units appear more often. The more those appear the more heart attacks I have thinking I’m about to get the unit I want, only for those hopes to be dashed when it’s just a 4 star I already have. Like Mae.

Seriously, the Hero Fest banner has given me Mae twice. I like Mae, don’t get me wrong, but why would you do that to me game?

Gah but who cares, I once again ask myself in the not-at-all-dramatically-ironic-third-person, the event only lasts for a week, so what if I blow some orbs now? I’m playing a game based on RNG that wants me to spend money without explicitly saying it. Besides, the Tempest Trials are going well and there’s lots of bonus orbs from log-in bonuses, special missions and more that are available. I can just go back to hoarding some orbs again before the next crazy cool banner dro-

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NOPE.

GUESS WHAT, SACRED STONES IS HERE, Y’ALL.

Talk about a god damn slap in the face.

I’m sure I’ve gone on record about this before, but Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has to be my favorite Fire Emblem game. It was the first one I ever played and definitely holds a special place in my heart.

Thus, now I’m torn between giving up on this Hero Fest that has a lot of investment in it already and instead saving my orbs to jump onto this new banner with heroes I absolutely love and adore.

In other words, I now know how it feels to be my friend Jonathan back when the dual Echoes banners dropped in the midst of the first summer banner. Remember that huge orb binge where all my friends and I got Delthea except for him? Good times.

On the bright side, this new banner will be here for more than two weeks, giving us a lot more chances to summon on it considering the aforementioned orb bonuses floating around. However, on the flip side, Hero Fest only lasts about three more days, which makes it so I have a harder time deciding whether or not I want to dump more orbs into it now and potentially screw myself out of Sacred Stones heroes later.

That’s the conundrum I’ve been wrestling with for the last 24 hours or so, ever since the video talking about the four new heroes arrived.

… Sighs. Deep breaths Jason. Keep this up and next thing we know your whole angry rant on how Revelations ruined Fire Emblem Fates will be cluttering up this post too.

Despite my agony and bellyaching likely entertaining a fair amount of you in the crowd out there reading this, I’m sure my first world problems aren’t the only reason people are sticking around to read this dribble.

So let’s get into the usual expositional explain-y type jazz.

After all, despite the poor timing of everything, Sacred Stones is my favorite game in the series. Thus, even if it’s left me a heaping pile of a conundrum, I’m still hella hyped for the characters we’re being given.

  • SethSilver Knight
    • Serving as the token ‘Early appearing overpowered cavalier’ unit in Sacred Stones, Seth is a general from Renais who injures himself protecting Princess Eirika at the beginning of her journey. Despite this, he continues to serve her and her brother Ephraim as they travel the region hoping to reunite the four other kingdoms against the Grado Empire. Seth holds a few special places in my heart. For one, the name ‘Seth’ itself has over time become one of my favorite names, and he was the one who introduced it to me some years ago. He also fits a succinct ‘unrequited love’ archetype that always manages to steal my heart, as he loves Eirika but feels he can’t say it due to her being of such a higher birth, no matter how kind she is to him. I always hook them up anyway because it’s clearly the best option. Third, he absolutely demolishes the Arena in Sacred Stones. You can grind up so much money with Seth alone that it’s ridiculous, and for that he’ll always be awesome.
    • Notable Skills: Seth is interesting in that he seems to be built like a very defensive cavalier. Though the ruby sword he wields exacerbates the blue weakness he’ll be facing, the fact that he has Fortress Defense (raising his defense at the cost of some attack power) shows that he’ll clearly be around to tank hits more than he’s going to deal them out. In fact, he’ll be able to swap in place of his allies, tank a hit and then lower the enemy unit’s attack and defense by a substantial amount in the process. He’ll definitely be an interesting character to mess around with on my cavalier team if I manage to summon him.
  • TanaWinged Princess
    • Tana is Innes younger sister, a Frelian Princess who fights as a pegasus knight trained in the art of the Triangle Attack alongside fellow pegasus riders Vanessa and Syrene. If mentioning the Triangle Attack isn’t enough to make you feel elated while thinking about Tana, or frankly any other pegasus knight from early Fire Emblem games, I don’t know what will. I will say that it’s ironic to see her appear alongside Seth given that I tend to pair Tana and Ephraim up quite frequently as well. That means Intelligent Systems has added my love interests for both the Renais twins in one banner. Tana also holds an interesting distinction as having different recruitment means depending on the path you take. With Eirika she simply joins her force, but with Ephraim you have to save her from being captured in a dungeon (on the same level you find Amelia I might add, though I’ll get to her later). I personally like the story element in Ephraim’s side better, though take that with a grain of salt as it is possibly due to the shipping elements involved.
    • I also figured I would mention that out of all the character designs for these heroes, Tana’s new look is the one I dislike the most. Don’t really know why to be completely honest, I just kind of dislike it. Maybe it’s the hair?
    • Notable Skills: Overall, Tana seems like the most forgettable of these four added characters in terms of the skills she got. Her legendary lance Vidofnir (Gee, another lance pegasus unit… What a shocker) gives her defense if she fights units with physical weapons, she has the ever coveted Moonbow right out the box, she gains buffs to speed and defense and she comes with a new skill Guidance that allows infantry units to move behind her or ahead of her if they’re already close, essentially. It seems strange, but seeing her utilize the skill on the Lunatic level of their third mission spells out exactly how tricky it can be if used right. She has a bulky build like Seth, but I don’t typically associate pegasus knights with bulk so… I guess we’ll have to see how that goes.
  • InnesRegal Strategician
    • Just an aside before I get into Innes as a character… I’ve been mispronouncing his name apparently. I’ve always pronounced Innes as “Eye * ns” with a silent E, but in his character introduction in the trailer dropped yesterday he referred to himself as “In * Nes.” I don’t know, that kind of messes with my head if I’m being honest… Though I’ll probably keep thinking of it the same way I always have.
    • That aside, Prince Innes is Tana’s older sibling and renown sniper/tactician from Frelia. Along with his hired hands Gerik and Tethys, he also hopes to end the way with Grado but eventually must be rescued from a siege by Eirika. Honestly, the mission where you recruit Innes in Sacred Stones is easily one of the most memorable to me, and Innes is such a powerful archer that it’s hard not to use him once you’ve got him… Even though Neimi is definitely still my preferred bae when it comes to archers. Girl kills it as a bow knight while he’s off just being a plain old sniper. Seriously I like you Innes, even if my love for you L’Arachel isn’t in the game, but why couldn’t you just be Neimi.
    • Notable Skills: Innes probably has the most interesting build of all the new heroes in that he’s clearly designed to be a mage killer just like his original game counterpart. He’s likely going to have a decent-to-high resistance stat boosted by Fortress Resistance, and although that ability lowers his attack, the Iceberg special attack will grant him huge attack buffs based on his resistance stat. Add onto that a legendary bow, Nidhogg, which will give him +6 to all stats if he has all his allies surrounding him during combat and a, frankly, negligible use of Cancel Affinity likely there to cover tome users like Robin, and you’ve got a pretty solid fighter all together. Even if he isn’t the archer I want.
  • AmeliaRose of the War
    • Oh Amelia. Amelia, Amelia, Amelia. You’re no Neimi, but by god are you the closest thing to her. Seriously, Amelia is probably my personal second favorite unit from Sacred Stones. That mostly stems from a combination of her easter egg story appearance early on in the game, her cute and sweet personality despite a somewhat tragic backstory, the possibility of her recruitment in both Eirika and Ephraim’s storylines and the interesting finite window for recruitment when you do find her that adds more value to the relationship she can build with Franz (who I always pair up with her cause they’re so dang cute). Plus, if nothing else, the fact that they made Amelia an armored knight in Heroes validates my choice to make her a General every time I play through Sacred Stones. Hell, give the artist bonus points for keeping the design where axes used by generals are attached to the unit’s hand by a chain. That’s a super dope attention to detail. She’s top of the list for units I’ll be after in this banner, hands down.
    • Notable Skills: While sentimental value is my primary drive for pining after Amelia in her newest appearance, it definitely helps that she looks like she’s going to kick so much ass if her stat distribution is done right. As an armored knight unit she’ll undoubtedly have great defenses that will be boosted by the low cooldown special ability Sacred Cowl. With a Slaying Axe in her hands, that special cooldown will be even lower, allowing her to tank more long ranged attacks more often. Plus if her health stat is high enough she’ll certainly be able to make use of Earth Boost to gain more defense, and the new ability Armor March allows other armored units to move as easily as regular infantry, which is pretty crazy. Really good stuff all around, it seems.

These units are great additions, but… Seriously. Where is Neimi. I know I’m probably the only person on this planet that actually wants to see her and I’m beating a dead horse by now… But I’d say I’m allowed to have one dumb and silly thing to really complain about.

Though, I also question whether it would be more disheartening if she did appear in the midst of my Hero Fest/Sacred Stones conundrum…

Who knows. Either way, here’s hoping she makes her way to us in one way or another soon. The hope continues to live on, everyone.

With a Grand Hero Battle featuring Valter slated for later this month, maybe we’ll be seeing even more of an influx of Sacred Stones content in the near future.



Editor’s Note:

Boy, now that I’m re-reading this portion on the characters, it occurs to me just how much I have to say about all of them. This is probably the most I’ve written about any of the new characters in this game, in fact, and I could probably do it no matter who they added. I’m sure some people will call my investment weird or creepy or whatever, but Sacred Stones was my first venture into what has become one of my favorite game series of all time. Without Sacred Stones being a part of the Ambassador Program for those who bought the Nintendo 3DS before it’s initial price drop, I might not have ever gone out and bought Awakening, which truly cemented my place in the fandom.

It’s kind of crazy how much I love this game… Maybe I should go back and replay it soon.



We’re already like 2,200 words into this sucker, so let’s get going on Paralogue story, shall we? I promise I’ll try to show more than tell.

There’s the usual affair of available battles, missions and rewards added by this Paralogue, but since I spent so long gassing up the game I figured it would be a disservice not to talk about the levels in detail this time around.

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  • 10-1 is relatively straight forward. In Eirika’s campaign of Sacred Stones there’s a mission where you need to survive a number of turns as enemies constantly spawn around you. So, this is a level where enemies constantly spawn around you for a number of turns, forcing you to survive or kill everything on screen. The mission actually gets rather tough on Lunatic mode, but with the right units it’s no big deal.
  • 10-2 is based on a level I remember particularly well as one of the first missions in the game you take on once Eirika and Ephraim join forces again. I remember that mission well for the enemy unit wielding an Excalibur tome you can steal behind a fellable tree, recruiting the third pegasus knight Syrene and for fighting against summoning mages, one of my favorite units from that game. In Heroes, the mission is kind of a joke, however. Really easy to take down and not much story, as I’ll go into.
  • 10-3 is actually a level I don’t recognize particularly well. From what I can tell it’s either based off of Renais Castle, where the real twins grew up and later liberated, or it’s based off of Rausten’s capital Mansel. I’d be more willing to bet on the prior, but frankly I’m just not too sure. It could be a totally different option, frankly. Either way this mission proved to be the most frustrating at Lunatic, as it really showed off the power that Tana’s new skill Guidance can hold. Warping Amelia or Innes from behind a wall was kind of a crazy strategy and I had to use a Light’s Blessing to get the extra reward on this one.

I’d also like to note that the Sacred Stones music running throughout the three stages was pretty damn nostalgic to me and pretty much brought me right back to that place of wanting to go back and play through the Gameboy Advanced game all over again.

But I digress, as it’s story time ladies and germs.

From the first few seconds, this Paralogue proves itself to have more going on than you might expect. Considering it follows after the nude hero hunt that was the two summer banners, that’s a welcome surprise indeed.

It starts with the usual affair of Princess Veronica setting up her contract with the heroes, but this time something gets in her way that she wasn’t quite expecting.

Out of the love and respect he holds for Eirika and Ephraim, Seth is able to really prod the tiger and try to get at her true inner workings despite the fact that he’ll be working for her. Though it’s small, the interaction brings up some interesting questions about just how powerful the contracts Veronica uses are and about the nature of where she comes from, the place she’s Princess of. It’s a subject that I don’t believe has been broached past the typical good vs. evil “they’re the bad guys trying to hurt us” fair.

Then things get more interesting when Xander shows up again.

Yeah that’s right, Xander! I was pretty taken aback when his portrait suddenly appeared. He played a semi-significant role by showing up in most of Veronica’s army matches when you fought against her specifically, but apparently they’re keeping up the canonicity of his being on her side… Even if he’s clearly not as brilliant here as he is in his own universe given some of the dialog.

Though Seth continues to exchange ideals with the opposing team, the second mission is definitely way more fluffy. It boils down to Innes and Tana arguing about her being up at the front of the battlefield because Innes wants to protect her even though she wants to prove herself.

Not a very exciting thing to talk about even if the character development is amicable for those who have no idea who the characters are.

However, the third mission brings things right back up to 100.

I don’t know how many pictures I can just straight up screenshot and use from this game without getting into trouble, but for this exchange I just feel like it’s poignant enough to include in its entirety.

I’m not sure if that feeling just stems from Seth being the distributor of justice or if I’m genuinely really interested to see the story writing team inject some actual character intrigue and commentary with regards to the traditional villain character’s story, but either way I actually felt a little bit enthralled reading some of the exchanges in this Paralogue.

Maybe I’ve just seen these characters in action for so long that getting to watch them flesh one another out is fascinating to me. As someone interested in both writing and video games, I’d certainly be willing to ascribe it to that.

From that point everything seems to be about what you’d expect, however.

Innes expresses his dismay that you had to help him and his friends out of a jam:

Then all is happy and good. The end.

OR IS IT?

That’s right, if one character’s character development wasn’t enough for you, now we have some semblance of overall plot progression to enjoy as a post-production following the mission.

The Anna-imitating trickster god Loki from earlier main story missions appears once again to show that the venture into Sacred Stones territory wasn’t just an exercise in finding new allies and fighters. No, this time the game’s villains had an aim.

That aim was finding the sacred tome Naglfar, which is actually the dark tome wielded by Sacred Stone’s overarching villain Lyon, childhood friend of Eirika and Ephraim corrupted by evil stone/dragon magic.

Because what isn’t corrupted by evil magic from a stone or from a dragon in Fire Emblem?

Though they don’t elaborate much further on the usefulness of Naglfar in place of some suggestively abusive exchanges between Loki and Veronica, just the fact that the story missions and Paralogues continue to ramp up a bigger narrative story in this free-to-play mobile title is frankly just interesting enough to keep me coming back for more.

Good job Heroes devs and writers. You made up for sexual deviant Anna. I’m proud of you.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes. Yes I did summon on the Sacred Stones banner. A full 20 orb summon I might add, since the free first summon essentially gave me a five orb discount. What did I get for my troubles?

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Nothing but tribute fodder and heart attacks.

You don’t think I’d bury this so far down here if I got anything important, do you?


I will take this moment to add an aside and say that although I expressed a lot of frustrated flailing back and forth earlier in the post, I’m actually not all that upset with these developments. I was for a little while when I first heard the news, don’t get me wrong, and my emotions from that moment are genuinely expressed up above since I wanted to log those thoughts for posterity, but overall my feelings are honestly much more demure and even glad.

Oh, and I already know I’m probably going to focus more on Sacred Stones with perhaps one more shot at the Hero Fest. Cause it has already burned me too hard.

In the end, I love these characters, so how could I possibly be that mad at a free game for adding in characters that I love?

Though I can still be fake mad at them for not adding the one character they know I want. I know that they know that I want Neimi to show up and they’re holding her from me intentionally. I can feel it.

But anyway, dumb conspiracy theories aside, that’s all there is to this update. Let me know what you think of the new focus heroes or of the ramping story that seems to be getting told in a long-form narrative. I’ll be interested to hear all of your thoughts and theories in the comments!

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

Boy, Intelligent Systems sure is looking to wring all the money it can out of its gaming audience this summer, aren’t they?

Of course I say that in jest (as much as I can muster out during my early morning writing binges), as I happen to really enjoy what they have been doing and what they will be doing in the near future.

It’s only slightly in jest, however.

My friend Jonathan has been going nuts with all of the frequently added characters he’s wanted to get, and though he succeeded in getting Delthea and Sonya from the Echoes banners (like me!), he did have to spend some real money to do it. I’m starting to feel the same way at this point, as I just barely started to replenish my surplus when today’s new banner dropped.

Speaking of:img_5784The new Nohrian Summer summoning banner follows in the footsteps of the Ylissian Summer banner that we saw about a month ago, only focusing this time on the royal family of Nohr – as the name suggests.

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I probably would have been much more excited for this if we had gotten Hoshidan royalty, as I have much stronger personal connections with the Birthright side of Fire Emblem Fates than the Conquest side. However, beggars can’t be choosers. The special heroes we got are still great and rather quirky in their own rights.

Four members of the Nohrian royal family are here to spend time at the beach with the boys and girls summoning heroes on a day-to-day basis:

  • CorrinNovice Vacationer
    • A princess caught between her ‘birth’ family in Hoshido and her ‘adopted’ family in Nohr who comes to be the hero that leads one side or the other to victory in a war between the two nations. Unless you played the Revelations version of course, in which case you’d have a completely different story. In this special summertime edition of Corrin she appears as a tome using wyvern rider who attacks with Finding Nemo characters. If that’s not enough to make her enticing, I don’t know what else could.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat, which is a useful idea… Even if in execution a +1 boost isn’t necessarily the most helpful thing. Corrin’s weapon of choice is a blue tome, and she also comes equipped with a decent spread of skills right out of the box, including the Dragon Fang special attack, a +4 speed and resistance boost during initiated combat and the ability to fortify the defenses of fellow flying units.
  • EliseTropical Flower
    • The Nohrian royal family’s youngest sibling, Elise is a princess known for her charm, boundless childlike energy and great horseback healing capabilities. Finding her adorning a lei while on a summer vacation grants her a different set of skills, however, as she becomes an infantry unit who excels at using flower-based green tomes.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Elise’s weapon of choice is a green tome, and she comes with skills that grant her +2 speed and resistance, allow her to provide a +3 attack and resistance boost to allies as well as a skill that gives fellow green tome users extra ‘special points’ through battling. Honestly her skills are probably the least impressive when compared to the others.
  • LeoSeashore’s Prince
    • Being the younger of the middle children among Nohr’s royal siblings, Leo tends to be a little abrasive – particularly in the face of being teased by his siblings. Despite this, his strength wielding the mystic tome Brynhildr is unquestionable and gives him a cocky edge alongside his vast intellect as a mage knight that nobody can really deny. His summer attire loses a lot of the heavy black armor he’s known for wearing in place of a simple blue cloak, and his mystic tome has been replaced by a book discussing the ever beloved(?) tomato. Which he can launch at his enemies using magic. For some reason. It’s strange, though I’d argue his older brother’s gimmick is a bit stranger.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Leo’s weapon of choice is a red tome, though he also comes with the Iceberg special attack, the Seal Resistance skill and Attack Ploy, allowing him to lower the attack of anyone in cardinal directions with less resistance than him.
  • XanderStudent Swimmer
    • The crown prince of Nohr, known for his stalwart attitude and willingness to fight against even the mightiest of forces if it’s necessary to protect his siblings. Out of all the characters here, Xander easily has the strangest additional ‘summer attribute’ in that he apparently cannot swim and needs the help of a floatation device to stave off what seems to be a fear of the water. However, this strange attribute becomes one of the most endearing things I’ve ever seen when it appears he uses a floatation device modeled after the dragon form of Lilith as an axe. Though I get the feeling it would be even better if Corrin had the Lilith-themed gear, just the fact that he has this makes him the one character I’m pining after for this focus.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Xander’s weapon of choice is an axe, and he comes with the powerful Bonfire special, a skill called Fire Boost that gives him +6 attack if he has more health than his opponent and a skill that lowers the special cooldown for infantry units with less health than him. His skills are another reason I really want to add him to my team, I’d say.

For real though, look at this:

img_5783

Look at this wet and glistening beefcake swinging around an amazing dragon floatie around. It’s as magnificent as it is ridiculous and I am 100% down to add him to my teams.

In fact, I’ve already spent the 50 orbs I’ve collected over the last week or two (or however long its been since I summoned Sonya) on green orbs for him. To little avail thus far, but the summoning focus lasts for more than 30 days, so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to catch him… Even if I feel like shit to some extent because I gave up on my orb collection so early.

At least there’s more opportunities for orbs coming down the pipelines. Though I’ll mention that after I get into what has become probably my favorite part of these events: The story.


Three new Paralogue missions providing nine orbs and three corresponding missions provide for a nice bit of an orb boost after already burning away quite a few. Though the storyline you have to move through to get these orbs is… Interesting. To say the least.

Last time around I mentioned that the strange approach Anna took to taking pictures of summery heroes seemed characteristic of the game’s writers crying out for a vacation.

They really stepped it up this time around and helped me double down on that opinion.

While Anna once again hopes to document heroes in their swimsuits to sell to the highest bidder as a means of filling the Order’s coffers, this time she’s decided to abandon her goal of starting her own playboy magazine in place of starting… What I can only think to describe as her own pornography website.

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I’m honestly not sure what to say, though Alphonse sums up my overall impressions fairly well:

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Anyways, that just about bookmarks everything once again. You go to the Nohrian islands to find scantily-clad heroes under a fighting contract so you can get pictures of them. Starting with the girls:

Then hitting the boys as well, since Anna is an equal opportunity monetarily-driven pervert as it turns out:

Then, once you get to the end of the line with Anna’s movie collection complete, she finds that loopholes once again ruin her plans.

This, of course, leads to a comical overreaction from a character now afraid of going bankrupt. Though this one takes the cake as one of the strangest experiences I think I’ve had as a gamer.

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Never before has a video game character asked me to strip down and put on a skimpy swimsuit. Caught me pretty off guard, though I’m not sure if I’d say doing so was a good or a bad thing in the grand scheme of things.

That odd experience was really the biggest thing this part of the ‘filler arc’ had to offer, and I’m already pretty much out of things to say about it. Just off of one full stamina bar I was able to collect all of the orbs available from this story focus, so I’ll probably be spending some time trying to get my hands on Xander while playing Splatoon with my friends and grinding up cards against Yami Marik in Duel Links on the side.

Which, by the way, is another super cool event going on right now. However, I don’t have too much to say about it beyond the fact that I love being able to use Marik now, so I didn’t think it would be worth a whole post on its own. You can check out some information on it here if you’re really curious about what the deal is there.

Speaking of probably not being worth a whole post on its own, one of the reasons I’ll be working hard to get a Xander summoned is so I’ll be able to use him in the Voting Gauntlet coming up on the horizon:

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This summer hero-themed gauntlet looks like it’s going to be way more exciting than the healer unit-themed gauntlet we had in the last go around, and I’ll definitely be backing my boy Xander all the way even if I don’t personally have one to use. Though if he loses I’ll probably go with Gaius. Or I’ll improvise if both are taken down, I suppose.

We’ll see how it all turns out with time.


Another thing relevant to the game that I figured would be worth noting in this post is the launch of Feh Channel, where the in-game item delivery owl (called Feh, appropriately enough, not-so-coincidently matching the anagram for the game’s name) tells you all about everything you want to know about the future of Fire Emblem Heroes.img_5760

The channel series, if it’s a continual venture and not just a one-off clever way to do what is essentially a Nintendo Direct, will be nice and informative going forward. Just the first video that has been done really gives us a solid low down on everything that’s going on over the next month or so.

I’d check it out for yourself here, as there really is a lot of interesting information about things like the upcoming voting gauntlet, tempest trials updates, summoning appearance rate changes, a new game mode, the mobile app’s sixth month anniversary (can’t believe its already been that long, personally) and more.

The format they use with the owl is a little bit strange and admittedly annoying to an extent, but it’s still great if you want to get a look ahead of time at what I’ll likely be talking about here. If you don’t want to sit through the long-winded approach – which I can’t imagine why not if you’ve read up to this point in a post like this on my blog – everything boils down to this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 2.01.47 AM
Image courtesy of the Nintendo Mobile Youtube account

I’d say the Grand Hero Battle against Valter at the end of August has me most excited in terms of looking ahead. Seeing another Sacred Stones character appear suggest that perhaps the game will be in the limelight soon enough… With Neimi hopefully riding the coattails. I’ll never stop being excited for her.


All in all it’s going to be a nice distraction from school starting up again, since at this point I’ve got Daily Titan orientation coming up soon alongside preparations for a new work opportunity I’ve been invited to take part in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that soon enough, but for now just know that I’ll be stressing myself out well before classes even begin for the semester.

Though I suppose relieving that stress is what video games are best for.

How do you feel about the new summoning focus? Or about any of the upcoming updates we’ll be seeing in Fire Emblem Heroes? Let me know in the comments below, as I just love discussing all of this stuff if that wasn’t obvious enough already.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

To be fair, this is beach-themed. It’s beach-themed and I am writing this in the late hours of the night (or morning if you want to get technical).

So… I’m going to count this as one of my trips to the beach this summer. Even though it’s really just me playing more video games. Because you can’t really video games at the beach, now can you?

Oh wait, I did do that last year… Never mind.

Anyway, dumb attempt at a clever opening monologue aside, welcome to my regularly scheduled big Fire Emblem Heroes update. I’ve actually been fairly busy the last few days doing some work for my internship (hopefully some Gladeo stuff should be coming around in the next couple of days for me to talk about), so I haven’t been able to update everything as I’ve been going.

Figured I would update it all in one fell swoop, all under the banner of this strange, strange special character addition.

img_5429

That’s right folks, if June was the month of the brides, July is the month of summer fun for the colorful cast of Fire Emblem characters… From Ylisse. Because apparently only the Ylissians get nice things like summer vacations.

Now, just who do we have filling out our roster of summer-themed heroes?

  • Robin (female): Seaside Tactician
    • Can’t have a collection of heroes from Fire Emblem Awakening without including Chrom, Lucina or Robin somewhere in the mix. Lucina’s gotten more than enough love in the time Heroes has existed, so I’m glad to see Robin finally getting some more time in the sun. And no, not because she’s scantily clad and running around spearing seafood. Not strictly, at least.
  • Frederick: Horizon Watcher
    • Never did I ever think I would see this great Ylissian knight don casual clothing, hit the beach with his friends and chuck seashells at people. Seriously. The guy that usually flattens enemies with his horse and impales those who do disservices to his lords chucks seashells at people. Easily the best character added solely for how strange he is, and that’s saying something considering…
  • Tiki: Summering Scion
    • Have you ever wanted to see an eons-old half-dragon of divinity with a pension for feeling heartbroken about the deaths of her friends in the hundreds of years she hibernated decide to smack a watermelon with a stick and use the combined items as an axe? No? Well have this anyway.
  • Gaius: Thief Exposed
    • Besides the fact that “Thief Exposed” is a ridiculous name to bestow upon anything in this context, I don’t have a lot of things to make fun of with old Gaius here. In fact, if there was anyone on this list I would want, it’s him. Not only does he get the skills Vantage AND Astra, but he also shoots the blue ice cream pops from Kingdom Hearts at people. It’s pretty dope.

I’m sure you know exactly what’s coming next at this point.

 

 

New heroes equals new paralogue. New paralogue equals three new missions. Three new missions equals nine new orbs, plus an extra three for included special missions. The return of two orbs daily. Rinse and repeat, as usual.

Oh, but this time they also included an extra event to get us some boosted Skill Points for playing over the weekends.

img_5432

So that’s pretty cool.

In case it wasn’t all that obvious, I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on this like I usually do. As much as I love writing far too much about a relatively small amount of content with this game, it is already pretty late and I have some stuff going on tomorrow. However, the writing in this game never ceases to amaze me with how bizarre it is.

If you thought things got weird when the girls of the game were wandering around in wedding dresses… Well…

 

 

Surprisingly, talking about liberation from one’s clothing isn’t even the weirdest thing Anna talks about in this miniature storyline. It actually gets much, much creepier from there.

To sum it up really quick, you and the rest of your colleagues from the Order of Heroes decide to go to a beach in Ylisse to relax for the summer. However, Anna has ulterior motives with the casually dressed heroes under contract with Emblia to defend the beach.

 

 

 

She basically wants to take the four new special heroes and use them to make her own Playboy-esque pictures to sell so she can help fund the army.

I’ve had a couple of hours to stew it over and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this plot point.

However, it just about goes how you would expect. You fight a few maps, Anna fails to get any of her pictures, she actually winds up losing money thanks to a letter from an alternative version of herself and everyone fills her in on the value of spending the summertime making friends and relaxing rather than dwelling over money.

img_5447

Seriously this game has more Hallmark card morals than Hallmark cards as far as I can tell.

The “lore” for this event doesn’t get much deeper than this, so that’s really all I have to say on that matter. Except that getting through this event makes me feel like like the writers for this game are trying to send a message that they could probably stand for a “liberating vacation” of their own.

The map environments are quite pretty however, I have to say:

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It’s obviously hard to tell with a still image, but the water flows back and forth with a little bit of froth. It’s really nice.

With the summer beach fun out of the way, let’s get into a little lightning round for all the other updates in my games I’ve neglected, big and small.


Clarisse Arrives

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My upset rantings from a couple of weeks ago were once again proven to be obsolete as we received the second boss character from the recent Mystery of the Emblem Paralogue  through a special map. I updated that post when the first character came through, so I figured I would update that post again with this little blurb here.

Otherwise, don’t have much to say about this. I like the character, she seems cool and I got a three star version of her. However, with my current collection of heroes, I’m not having much luck at the harder difficulties for her mission.


The latest Voting Gauntlet: Battle between the ladies of the cloth

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Admittedly I’m not super invested in this voting gauntlet. Because healers aren’t prominent or even necessarily good to battle with in this format, you don’t see the headlining characters strongly supported in the battles at hand with this gauntlet.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made for having a balanced cast to prevent any unfair match ups (experiences like Ephraim vs. Eirika one time do come to mind), but when people aren’t using the characters featured it makes it harder to feel invested in the team support. At least in my opinion.

However, I have been supporting my teams all the same. I started with Sakura, the best younger sister from Fates… But she swiftly got beat by Elise. Guess people didn’t agree with me, but at least I can take solace in the fact that people can have their own opinions… They just can’t make up their own facts. So my opinion still stands.

Anyway, now I’m supporting Lissa from Awakening in the fight against Priscilla from the Radiant series. Whether I win or not, at least I know… Everyone who plays gets tons of rewards at the end.

Rewards are good.


Champion of Valentia

 

In other non-Heroes related Fire Emblem news, I finally beat the main story in Fire Emblem Echoes over this last week! It was a long time coming, as I’d been putting it off for quite a while due to other things, but I certainly don’t regret a moment of it.

Seriously, Echoes has easily skyrocketed to being one of my favorite Fire Emblem titles over the time I’ve played it. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, the graphics are easily characteristic and exemplary of all the advancements made in the Fire Emblem series in recent years and dungeons are simply wonderful.

I sincerely hope that the popularity of this game encourages the return of similar first-person dungeon exploration in future titles. I would understand if they want to keep it unique to Gaiden and its remake, but in my opinion they would be remiss to not capitalize on how fun the mechanic is.

There are also a striking amount of similarities between this game and the Sacred Stones from my point of view. That added some extra investment personally, as it reminded me of my favorite game in the series. Plus, on top of that, I eventually realized that Valentia is the ancient equivalent of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, much like Archanea is the ancient equivalent of Ylisse. Seeing that kind of world building across generations is always phenomenal.

I do have my problems with the game, however. There’s a certain element of “keeping to tradition” with Echoes in terms of its character interactions that I can respect… But disagree with at heart. If you want to keep the original support system from Gaiden and keep the canonical relationships canonical, that’s fine. In fact, I quite enjoy most of the canon in-game relationships. Alm and Celica, Gray and Clair, Clive and Mathilda, Mae and Boey, so on and so forth. They’re great.

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But for this being a modern Fire Emblem game… They really aren’t enough.

Particularly on the coattails of Fire Emblem Fates, which gave you the chance to essentially learn about, befriend and create your own relationships between two complete armies and their children, Fire Emblem Echoes was sorely lacking.

All of the characters I would love to see have more development essentially don’t. This lack of development is almost uncomfortably disappointing, as many obvious options for connections to at least talk are simply missing. For example, many of the initial villagers from Alm’s route can’t talk with one another despite being childhood friends. Genny, the little sister surrogate from Celica’s route, can’t talk with Celica or any of the other people she starts the journey with. Or, in fact, anyone besides Sonya from later on in the story.

I could go on and on. Saber should be able to talk with Celica, Delthea should be able to talk with Clive, Silque should be able to talk with Jesse. Most of these names are just garbled nonsense to people who haven’t played the game, but trust me. They have hinted relationships through different outlets that get unfortunately ignored by the lack of support conversations.

Again, I can appreciate sticking to conventional things and keeping canonical relationships alive. But if you’re going to revamp a game, to the point where entire characters are added and given integral parts of the story (Editor’s Note: Love you Berkut <3), the least you could do is add extra conversations into the game that I would assume aren’t entirely too hard to implement.

But I digress, as I’ve already probably talked about this game far too much in this unconventional space as is. Time to move on, shall we?


Yami Bakura is a dick

 

Enough said.

In actually non-Fire Emblem related news… I love this character and I love the event he comes with in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The blood red sky full of eyes and mouths are rad, and when I first started playing the game this event was happening the first time, so it comes with a certain amount of nostalgia as I see how much further I’ve come.

However, dueling him is way too god damn hard thanks to a mechanic he abuses that ends the match within five turns, so it’s a real pain in the neck to collect any points and prizes from him. It annoys me, but not enough to go into immense details about here.

Plus Yami Bakura is great, so I can’t really stay that mad with him. His theme music is still my favorite.

I also figured I would mention that Konami has impressed me recently with all the notices about updates that are coming and have come to the game. Tons of overpowered skill rebalancing, revamping some graphics, adding lots of new and cool cards and more. It’s actually really nice to see how much they seem to be listening to the community with this game.

Good on you, Konami.


2,000 words in and I’m finally done. Geez, I really need to stop doing this to myself. Every time I say I’m going to write short, get in early and get out fast, I always wind up going above and beyond the call of duty without intending to. I do enjoy the writing, but I always hate myself in the morning when I have to drag myself out of bed.

For now, however, that’s neither here nor there. It’s about time I let you all go on with your lives.

What do you think of the summer heroes? Which one of the four Ylissians are your favorite in their special getups? Also, because I’ve been considering it myself, are you interested in a more extended discussion on Fire Emblem Echoes? I thought about it when I finished the game initially, but I’ve been so busy that I didn’t think I was going to get anything official out. However, if the demand is high enough, I just might.

Maybe I should get a better way to capture images off my 3DS. That could encourage me to talk about those games more, since I know part of my interest in the mobile games comes from the ease of getting screenshots.

But once again I digress. For now it is time to sleep so I can stop rambling on and on like this.

Mystery of the Emblem heroes arrive from Archanea – Updated

Mystery of the Emblem heroes arrive from Archanea – Updated

Don’t do this all too often, but Heroes updated again today and essentially invalidated large chunks of this post, so I figured I would address it in an update here as well.

When I talked about how I felt Legion and Clarisse should have been the heroes featured in the newest summoning focus, I apparently did not anticipate that the characters could and likely would show up in Grand Hero Battles.

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In hindsight it seems rather obvious (though I suppose you can say that for most things in hindsight). Characters like Xander who had been in the game through missions without being a summonable hero did wind up coming to the game later as Grand Hero Battles, where you unlock them by beating a particularly hard map.

Since Legion and Clarisse are boss characters from Mystery of the Emblem, I suppose it also makes sense for them to be unlocked through especially hard fights.

The Legion fight is particularly interesting, however, as it’s the first Grand Hero Battle that has an extra difficulty level: Infernal.

Dramatic letter coloring is dramatic.

Infernal is pretty much just a step up in difficulty that comes with an additional four star Legion and 2,000 feathers. Both are decent rewards to work to get, as duplicate characters can pass down skills and feathers are generally a rare (but highly useful) commodity.

I tried to beat the fight on Infernal but didn’t exactly get very far. Most of my best heroes aren’t well-equipped to tank heavy damage, which they have to be with a map that continuously spawns hard units to fight.

But… Oh well, at least I got this one:

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Anyway, that’s about all for this update. I figured it wouldn’t be a big enough thing for its own post, but I also didn’t want to just delete what I had on this post already. Keeping it around for posterity and timely remembrance and all that.

Just keep in mind as you read through the rest of this post, which I essentially tried to frame around the idea of there being a missed opportunity with these heroes, that even the greatest of thoughts can ultimately be wrong without all of the pieces at play.



E3 has just about come and gone for the year. While I’m planning on putting something out talking about some of my personal high points from the conference, I’m not quite prepared to do that right now.

So instead, here’s an update on the most recent update for Fire Emblem Heroes that came out last night. While not quite as expansive as the Tempest Trials release, we did get four new heroes to play around with:

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From Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem comes Katarina, an assassin who aspires to be a tactician, Athena, a foreigner from a town bordering Archanea who speaks with a accent, and best friend/rivals Roderick and Luke, two cavaliers serving under Marth in the Altean army alongside Katarina.

I personally have not played New Mystery of the Emblem, or the original Mystery of the Emblem for that matter, so I don’t have much experience with these four new heroes. Though, I was surprised during my research to find that Athena appeared in Shadow Dragon as well. I have played that game, but I honestly don’t remember seeing her.

One thing I can say about the four heroes that were chosen is that I feel like there was a missed opportunity somewhere along the lines. Let me explain.

 

The plot line of the new Paralogue that was added for this summoning focus feels more like a filler arc in an anime than just about any other Paralogue I’ve seen added into the game. Which, I might add, is really saying something considering the one before it focused on heroes randomly pulled together for wedding-based shenanigans.

In essence, it follows the primary members of the Order of Heroes (Alphonse, Sharena and Anna) entering into the new lands of Mystery of the Emblem hoping to free heroes that have made contracts with Veronica and, in Sharena’s case, make new friends.

 

Once you arrive, the first hero you encounter is Katarina, being aided by Roderick and Luke. When you defeat her, she bonds with Sharena and takes your team on a trip through the land to help free her other friends.

Arguably the most interesting thing about this series of Paralogue missions to me is the fact that heroes who aren’t a part of the summoning focus appear on top of the characters who are a part of the focus. As far as I can remember, this is the first time something like that has happened, which makes these missions stand out in their own right. For example, along the way you discover Athena being attacked by discount Gollum named Legion:

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Okay technically they’re on the same team in this mission, but that’s not what I’m looking to point out. What I’m looking to point out is that this is a seriously strange characterization for any character.

You also come across an archer named Clarisse, who arrives when you find out that (big shocker) Katarina was actually tricking Sharena the whole time and spent the previous missions leading your team into a trap.

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Considering every other mission thread in the past has had the heroes making a contract with Veronica stay under that influence until the final battle, the feigned friendship act is honestly pretty obvious the whole way through.

By the end, it is revealed that Katarina truly does appreciate the trust and friendship Sharena entrusts in her and hopes that they can work together again in the future… Despite the fact that she led the Order of Heroes into a deathtrap. It’s a sweet, if not hokey, moment that also results in Sharena having a moment with Alphonse talking about the value of her trusting nature compared to his more hesitant and cautious one.

The more separate nature of the narrative and moral-based conclusion to this Paralogue is what makes it feel like a filler episode of a show to me. Something about the writing gives me the same kind of impression.

I say everything about this setup feels like a missed opportunity because every hero besides Katarina that you can summon is pretty much utterly wasted. Roderick, Luke and Athena have no speaking lines at all across any of the three missions. Meanwhile, Legion and Clarisse not only have plenty of speaking lines but also seem like much more interesting characters. I understand it’s because the four heroes they chose go together at the beginning of the game’s story, but still.

Seriously, I’d use Clarisse, her design is great and I like her seemingly scalding attitude. Plus her Clarisse’s Bow inflicts -5 attack and speed on enemies within two spaces after each attack. Now that I’m more into serious battle strategies, it’s a pretty sweet sounding weapon.

Oh, also, the summoning focus comes with three additional missions.

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Figured I would just throw this in there. I’m not really sure what a smooth way to transition into it would be and it’s the last thing I have to talk about for this update. So… Yeah. That’s about that.

However, I’m not much of a fan of unceremonious endings, so I’ll add on an update for my progress in the Tempest Trials as well.

Because players of the game were able to amass a total of 2,639,517,292 points since the beginning of the event, everyone who participated gets a pretty nice reward for their trouble.

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Personally, I have been able to collect at least enough points to reach the main goal I’ve set out for:

 

The Trials as a whole are admittedly more of a slog than I expected they would be. Each round takes a long time to complete, so even though I have more than enough stamina bottles to be able to get all the rewards, I haven’t felt like sinking in enough time to repeat the same fights over and over again.

Nevertheless, I will continue the uphill climb so I can hopefully get the new seals and a five star variant of Masked Lucina. She’s a rather interesting character, all things considered. Besides getting access to Falchion as a five star unit, she gets no skills at all. As a result, it seems like Intelligent Systems planned the character out specifically to be a build-your-own blank slate. I can’t say I’m opposed to the idea, in fact I’m rather excited to figure out how I want my Lucina to fit into a team!

There, NOW that’s all I have to say about Fire Emblem Heroes for the day. Thus it’s time for the obligatory comment questions at the end of the post.

How do you feel about the new focus heroes? Do you feel they should have gone with different heroes to summon instead like I do? And, of course, who would you like to see arrive in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes in the future? By now I’m sure my own answer to that question should be obvious. I’ve been waiting for a Sacred Stones-based summoning focus for quite some time now.

Also don’t ask why I’m feeling so much more fourth wall breaking than usual as far as blathering on about my lack of knowing what to do, because I’m not sure.

The Tumultuous Tempest Trials hit Fire Emblem Heroes

Now here’s a special event I can really sink my teeth into.

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Today a special event called the Tempest Trials dropped in Fire Emblem Heroes. Like the text I screen captured above says, the event has introduced a new game mode in which you fight through a series of maps that bring to the table an element highly characteristic of Fire Emblem games as a whole: Permanent character death.

Or at least, permanent death in a certain sense.

Before I get into that, however, I figure I should hit this particular discussion in what I would consider a ‘chronological order.’ In this case, starting with a discussion of how the event fits into the game’s lore. After all, this more massive undertaking of an event does present an interesting addition to the continual plot of the game.

To explain the event in storied terms, one new Xenologue has been added:

The Xenologue only has one mission (with three difficulty levels that each give 3 orbs – leading to a net 9-orb profit as per convention at this point), and it isn’t a particularly hard mission. At least, it isn’t particularly hard for the units I have. However, there is quite a bit more plot surrounding this one mission than what a supplemental map usually receives.

Here’s the gist:

The ever-present antagonist of the game, Princess Veronica of the Emblian Empire, has teamed up with a mysterious new shape-shifting entity called Loki… Who for now apparently prefers to take the form of Anna.

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I’ll just leave the Marvel‘s The Avengers crossover joke here. There’s plenty I could do with it, but it doesn’t quite seem worth the energy right now.

Loki uses Veronica’s assistance to bring forth the Tempest, a magical vortex meant to bring about chaos by… Well… I’ll let Loki (in a different form – because shapeshifting) explain what it is.

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Yeah, essentially that. Tearing the worlds of Fire Emblem games apart, slamming them together in screwy, cacophonous ways. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. So on and so forth.

The mission ends with the Tempest opening and a new special hero, Masked Lucina (or Marth, as per her canonical cover when she arrives from the future in Fire Emblem Awakening – though that plot is also plenty complicated to explain so I’ll leave it there), coming forth to help fight off the despair and chaos brought about by the disaster.

And that, in a nutshell, is all you need to know. Worlds are colliding and heroes from all those worlds are coming together to fight against Veronica’s contracted heroes in a series of maps. Or at least, mostly worlds from Fire Emblem Awakening, since you’ll see in a second that the 3DS title is the focus of this particular iteration of the event.

Although the actual method of opening the Tempest is left vague at best, the overarching narrative is admittedly pretty engaging considering it’s mostly just supposed to outline a new challenging game mode in a mobile title.

After all, that’s exactly what all this plot has led up to: The Tempest Trials game mode.

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Coming to an increasingly overpacked menu screen near you…

Over the course of two weeks, players can enter the Tempest Trials and put their stamina on the line to take on a number of successive battles, the number being outlined by the difficulty level they choose.

For example, choosing the highest caliber Lunatic difficulty presents a series of seven battles to fight through. These battles, as I teased at before, implement permadeath for the teams chosen to take it on. The damage units take carry over from one battle to the next, and if a unit dies they don’t return to help you for the next stage.

“But Jason, expecting players to take on seven battles with just four heroes is ridiculous,” I hear you saying from behind the comfortably fluorescent screens through which you’re reading this text.

Well, you’re right, and that’s why the difficulty levels also outline the number of teams you’re permitted to use during the particular challenge you’re undertaking. Here’s how it works:

It’s battle number five. You enter the field battered and bruised, your units not quite strong enough to take on the challenge presented. After just a few hits, you lose. Game over. Those four units you started your journey with are permanently dead.

However… They were just Team 1.

Enter Team 2, freshly composed of units that aren’t quite in your A+ squad, but that just so happen to be a great combination in their own right. Now, it’s Team 2 versus the world.

But it would be unfair for the game to throw you back into a challenge without in some way acknowledging that you did your best with the fatigue of successive battling, now wouldn’t it?

Of course.

That’s why all enemy units start off with slightly less health when you begin to use a new team against them. It’s a small gesture, but an appreciated one. Your Minerva thanks the game developers for implementing such a system as her axe cleaves straight through the Gaius who has slain your first squad with much less trouble.

Maniacal laughter rings out, echoing across the darkened blue walls of your room, upsetting the silent stillness of the Super Mario Galaxy poster set up above your long unused desktop computer.

All is good.

In a fully hypothetical sense, of course.

In all seriousness, at the highest difficulty level, you get four chances. On top of that, the permadeath element only applies to your current run in the Tempest Trials. Once that challenge is over, you get all of your heroes back.

In a free-to-play title where the heroes you have are received through what is essentially a random chance game of color roulette, the merely pseudo-permanent nature of this inevitable death is greatly welcomed.

Personally, I only have enough units to make two good teams with one team of middling strength. So… For me, I basically have two chances to get to the end. Radical.

At the end, you come across Princess Veronica herself, fighting alongside her contracted heroes with all the same overpowered tendencies as she has had in the game’s story mode.

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Fun Fact: As my friend Jonathan pointed out to me, since I neglected to realize it when I first saw the map at about 1 a.m., the final map is based on the Dragon’s Table in it’s appearance in Fire Emblem Awakening, a game in which it is a pretty significant set piece. Pretty awesome stuff, honestly.

In my few attempts at the Tempest Trials thus far… I have yet to beat this final map. Luckily, the game still rewards you with points even for a loss, and there are two weeks or so for me to figure out the best way to win.

That provides me a nice Segway into the next leg of this journey: The rewards.

Obviously a big challenge event like this can not expect to gain traction without implementing a series of prizes players can receive. If you ask me, the prizes offered up for the Tempest Trials certainly seem to be worth going after.

After each victory or loss in the Tempest Trials, you receive a certain amount of points based on the factors outlined in the lefthand picture above. When you receive a predetermined amount you get a prize like orbs, as seen in the righthand picture above.

While there is a certain economy of scale in that the more points you accumulate the more saturated your prizes will be (more orbs, more crystals, more feathers, etc.), there are some prizes that are clearly what you’re meant to aim for. For example:

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A four-star Masked Lucina is the prize at 6,000 points, with a five-star Masked Lucina similarly available at 30,000 points. There are also two sacred seals available at 20,000 points and 50,000 points, with 15 additional orbs available between 50,000 and 99,999 points.

Currently I’m sitting at a solid 400 points based on my cumulative efforts. It’s certainly a long road to trek.

However, it will be all worth it for the new unit. Lucina wearing her Marth mask in Awakening is a pretty big source of my imagined personality preferences for her when I play through the game, so I’m looking forward to having the special, meaningful character in my roster.

But I digress.

Though that’s about all for my coverage of the Tempest Trials as a whole, it’s also worth mentioning that a new summoning focus has come with it.

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None of the heroes in this focus are new, but they are all popular characters from Awakening who provide point bonuses if you use them while fighting through the trials. I might not personally spend my accumulated orbs on this, but it is a nice addition.

Alongside starting to do work for my Internship and beating Fire Emblem Echoes, this event should help keep me rather busy for the next couple of weeks. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it. It’s only been out for a few hours, but I essentially stayed up until well past the witching hour to pull this post together, so clearly I quite enjoy the prospects of the event.

How do you feel about the Tempest Trials, if you play Fire Emblem Heroes? Are you excited about the challenge? What games and special characters would you be interested in seeing coming in as prizes in future iterations of the event – assuming they continue to release new versions in the future, of course.

Let me know in the comments below! Because for now, I’m off to get some sleep. The automatic scheduler will take care of putting this out at a more reasonable hour.