Tag: Spring Break 2017

Springtime for Heroes

In non-real life related news, my timing with putting out a post catching up on news in Fire Emblem: Heroes yesterday turned out to be impeccable.  Today there was an update to the game, introducing a paralogue and four “new” characters that are incredible in how silly they are.

Much in the tradition of events like the Hot Springs Scramble in Fire Emblem Awakening, Heroes has brought players a Spring Festival to celebrate the season that appears very grounded in the aesthetic decor of Easter. Awakening’s Exalted family members Lucina and Chrom as well as Fire Emblem Fates’ Nohrian Prince Xander and Princess Camilla have been given an alternative character skin and abilities. These heroes can, of course, be summoned through a new focus.

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As also seems to have become the usual affair in terms of updates to the mobile title, this special focus comes with its own set of special missions and a story paralogue showcasing the new characters. These offer the chance for players to earn 10 orbs and a variety of other small prizes from completion tasks involving the paralogue missions.

Now, the idea of a Ylissian Spring Festival drawing in heroes from various worlds to dress in bunny costumes, paint eggs and fight with weapons like comically massive carrots may seem ridiculous…

It is.  It’s very ridiculous to be completely honest, to the point that when I first saw everything for this event I was pretty turned off to it.  At the core of what it is, the Spring Festival seems to be fan service more than anything – an excuse to get popular characters in silly and arguably sexualized outfits just for the sake of doing it.

But then I actually played through the paralogue, and seeing the goofy, somewhat out-of-character dialogue is a treat in its own right, enough so that I wound up loving it.

The missions start innocently enough, with Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena inviting you to join them at the Spring Festival, which apparently hosts an undefined battle tournament.

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Once you arrive, you’re quickly introduced to the re-imagined royal units in a series of three stages, each of which showing just how… Quirky they are.

The characters also talk amongst themselves in pairings that would never get to met outside of Heroes:

Amazing words by the man holding a massive carrot as a spear

On top of that, these special characters get new skills that do things like increase the amount of rewards you get after battles, as well as special weapons and even silly descriptions that reveal more about the “backstory” of the Spring Festival.

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This description is my favorite – invoking Corrin is a nice touch

That’s about all there is to the Spring Festival. It’s ridiculous in all kinds of ways and I can imagine some people might even find it demeaning… But it hooked me with just how over-the-top everything is.  I’m already through all of the special quests (since they are geared more toward a new player level range for the most part) and I’ve gotten all the orbs that can be collected, so at this point I’ll just be biding my time and hoping to have the chance to summon one of the new spring-specific heroes.

Especially since the last focus disappear when I had a 4.75 percent chance to summon a five-star or a five-star focus hero. Seriously, that stings.

Oh, and also, kudos to anyone who picks up on the reference in my post title, since I’m hoping the callback isn’t lost on everyone but me.

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Visiting the L.A. Weekly

Today I had the chance to visit the office of the L.A. Weekly in Culver City.  I know the publisher, Mathew Cooperstein, because he’s the father of one of my younger sister’s good friends, so we’ve been talking about the possibility of my coming over to tour their office for some time.  With Spring Break this week, everything just so happened to line up perfectly for me to check the place out, and I’m really glad I finally got to do it.

Not only did I get to tour the office, which is housed in a pretty awesome looking building as I’m sure you can see in the featured image I have above, I also had the chance to sit down and chat with both Coop and the L.A. Weekly’s Managing Editor Drew Tewksbury. Both of them were really receptive and nice, and it was great to be able to swap stories and get some advice from people who have been entrenched in the news industry longer than I have.

Drew and I talked more about the writing side of things, both for short-form daily (or in their case, weekly and heavily online-based) reporting and for deeper investigative stories. Meanwhile, Coop talked with me more about the advertorial side and about things like community outreach, audience demographics and search engine optimization.

While I was at the office, I also picked up a couple copies of their two most recent publications: A regular issue with the cover story about deportees sent to Tijuana and their special 99 Essential Restaurants issue.

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Jason McGahan‘s story on the deportees is really stellar, and I’d recommend reading it here if you have the chance.

All-in-all I had a great time going to the L.A. Weekly, and I’d love to get the opportunity to go again one day.

 

My 2017 Spring Break obsession

While a lot of people took off on exotic vacations for this often beloved week off in the middle of the semester, or did not have a week off this week at all from what I’ve gathered from a few of my friends, I’ve had a bit more of a subdued break so far overall.  Between some work business I’ve had to make sure I’m around to do, some exams I have coming up right after vacation ends (always a good time) and helping my family at home while my Dad is off his feet, it has definitely been more of a stay-cation for me this year.

Now that’s not to say I’m complaining about it, after all just having the extra time for rest-and-relaxation has been more than enough for me considering how stressful my school load has been between four classes and being a newspaper editor. Plus I got to see my Alma Mater’s spring play, Shrek the Musical, so that’s always fun.

At the same time, having the time off has given me the chance to try out a game that I’ve honestly been considering trying for some time:

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Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, another honestly stellar mobile game to add to my collection next to Nintendo’s ventures of Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. I used to watch the card game-based anime as a kid and I was pretty into that, but my interest in the game never extended much further than that – I tried learning how to play the game as a kid but it never really went anywhere. When I saw a YouTube gamer I follow start uploading content on Duel Links, however, I found myself almost instantly hooked.  The layout of the game is great and intuitive, the music is exciting and the free-to-play model doesn’t get in the way of advancing in the game itself (which is always a god send in the mobile market)… Add onto that the strategy-based thinking that Yu-Gi-Oh lends itself to when you understand how the game works and you’ve got a very appealing package for me.

Fun fact, I was actually planning on making a blog post around Saturday when I first downloaded the game to make a joke about how I probably didn’t need the extra distraction in my life because of how much work stuff I have to do in my aforementioned classes and on the paper. Then I got so busy actually playing the game and having a good time that I wound up using just about all of my free time playing it rather than doing things like writing for this blog.

Okay that might be overexaggerating a little, since my time has also been split between my family, homework and hangouts with my friends from high school… But honestly it’s not that much of an overexaggeration. This game is seriously like an addiction for me, and I’d be close to saying I have a problem if it weren’t for the fact that my other stuff is still getting done either way.

Will I be posting a lot of Duel Links content here?  Maybe, maybe not.  I haven’t honestly decided whether or not this game is something I’d like to share my thoughts on like I have with Pokémon or Fire Emblem or whether this is more of a personal pleasure to do on my free time. This might just be one of the only big things I say about it, since if anything I might occasionally post about a new deck I’m particularly proud of or a new event that swings in, but otherwise it might not be the most apparent thing around here.

Though speaking of big decks I’m looking forward to building, I figure I should at least tease this out for any fans of the game or show as something I’m currently building up cards around:

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That’s right, this is happening. And man is it going to feel satisfying when it does.

Duel Links may have been taking on all my free time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring my other current mobile love interest, Fire Emblem. I’m rather behind in posting about what’s been going on, and I’ve come to accept the fact that I won’t always be on top of the ball in that department thanks to life, but I figure I should at least show off this photo collage to prove I at least planned on doing something with these events.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Quick-fire Fire Emblem thoughts:

  • The game’s first large-scale Voter Gauntlet took place at the beginning of March. It consisted of eight heroes in a tournament tree where players could pick their favorite, complete missions to earn flags and use said flags to boost the hero’s score so they’ll win in their match-ups.  It was honestly a pretty engaging event, as I know I got pretty into it at least, and the end result was surprising all things considered.  While it seemed like Ephraim would win easily, being the only lance user in a tournament that housed six sword users and a staff user, in the end popularity beat out nostalgia and found Lucina as the champion.  Personally, I followed Eirika for the first two rounds until she got beaten by Lucina and then joined the ultimately winning party, so I got a good amount of rewards from the whole experience.
  • Six new heroes were introduced to the game from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.  Karel, Ninian, Rebecca, Jaffar, Priscilla and Lucius have made their way into the cast of characters available to summon.  Blazing Blade is a game I haven’t played still, but a few of the units are still interesting to me, enough so that I’ve been looking to summon them with the extra slurry of orbs that have been released through various events throughout the month.  In particular, the singing manakete Ninian seems like she would be fun to use, Jaffar has a close relationship with one of my favorite units, Nino, so I’d love to have them together, and Priscilla is appealing just because my assistant on the Daily Titan has the same name and she’s amazing.  Unfortunately, while all these characters seem fun, random chance hasn’t exactly blessed me considering I’m up to a 4.75% chance to summon the focus heroes and still haven’t with the event ending tomorrow.
  • A new system has been added to have units inherit skills from other units.  In essence, you tribute one unit with a skill you want for a unit you want to see that skill on, then you can unlock and use that skill with the inheriting character.  So far I’ve only had the chance to give my five star Eirika a battle activating skill that boosts damage based on her high resistance stat, but I’ve gotten my ass handed to me by vantage inheriting Takumis enough to know the true horrifying potential of this system.  Seriously, screw vantage Takumi, it’s like the world found a way to make an overpowered unit even stronger and it is the most annoying thing.
  • Minerva’s brother Michalis got his own Grand Hero Battle, which wouldn’t necessarily be big news in general except for the fact that Minerva is one of the main units I use so it felt significant in some small way. That’s about all I have to say for him, however.

Don’t know what it is about 2017 that’s made it so mobile-centric for me… But I guess I can’t complain. It’s certainly taken my mind off the Switch and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Seriously I’ve had some time to try the game out with my friend who has a Switch and it has made me consider spending that extra cash that much more.  Not enough to do it quite yet, but the temptation is undoubtedly strong.

Hope everyone else is having as nice a Spring Break (or potentially lackthereof I suppose, in which case I apologize for the pseudo-gloating in this post) as I am so far, and look forward to some pretty interesting journalism-related stuff likely to be coming down the pipeline in the next couple of days!