Tag: Summer 2019

Not at all refreshing

Not at all refreshing

When the last summer banner came out, I was convinced it was the only one we’d see this year.

That 50-day period was incredibly deceiving, because here we are staring down a Binding/Blazing Blade summer banner. Featuring our sixth variant of Lyndis.

Sigh.

Let’s break my anti-Summer Initiative for the second time this week and talk Fire Emblem.


Summer Refreshes


I really should play Binding and Blazing Blade sometime soon to get personal connections with some of these characters…

But for now, a few of these units at least have impressive skills that it would be a shame not summon for them.

For instance: Lyn (despite her market saturation) has an impressive weapon in the Deep-Blue Bow, which gives her insane stats alongside Sturdy Impact.

Roy’s friend Wolt also has a special “win more” weapon in the Big-Catch Bow that buffs him when his opponent is weakened. Plus his Brazen Attack/Speed 4 is too good for any mortal to possess.

Ursula and Lilina stand out less because I’m not a huge dagger fan, even though Ursula’s Scallop Blade has the same “win more” effect.

So Lyn and Wolt are at the top of my list.

Which is good because one of them decided to give me a break after multiple disappointments trying to summon Laevatein.

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Look at this good +Attack archer boi.

I appreciate you helping me save orbs, so we’ll see how I can put you to work.

In the meantime there’s no better way to recoup those orbs than a good old Paralogue.


Paralogue 36 — Summer Refreshes

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This paralogue follows right on the last paralogue’s heels. Anna has recovered from the psychosomatic illness that resulted from hiding her mercantile side and decides to…

Just kind of sell things again. Regardless of what the nobility thinks.

I guess that’s character development?

It doesn’t seem to matter however, as the Order of Heroes arrives at the beach to find all the heroes in fancy swimsuits:

Being “magically” forced to buy skimpy outfits seems like it would be a major plot point, but it’s thrown away by the second map because Lilina and Wolt just talk about protecting each other for the sake of Roy.

Riveting.

Once the summer heroes are all beaten down, it’s revealed that Anna was the one convincing heroes to buy new swimsuits.

Just not our version of Anna.

Thus, foiled again, our Anna vows to return next year with an even crazier scheme to sell more things.

The fact that this little story drops its most interesting element is pretty disappointing. Kind of makes this experience one of the weaker paralogues overall.

But at least it gives us one of the most unintentionally real things that has ever been written down in a gotcha game.

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I’m still upset that we were lied to and given another summer banner. Intelligent Systems be wasting our orbs all over the place!

Sure, thinking we wouldn’t have another banner was entirely speculation.

And I didn’t have to waste a lot of orbs to get Wolt.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be upset! You can make it up to me by helping me get Laevatein, Intelligent Systems.

I’ll be expecting her.

Anyway though, let me know what you think about these new summer units. I’m a little salty if it wasn’t obvious, but I imagine some of you are very excited to see a few of these characters come around again.

Pretty sure this is the last blog thing I’ll have to worry about this week, so wish me luck on jumping back into my novel.

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

Greetings and salutations.

As you may have noticed, things have been a little different around here recently. A little more barren.

Don’t worry, it’s not a symptom of finally running out of ideas. I did that about a year ago and wrote about my pencil set.

Nor is it some delusion that my Naruto-Arena post is the peak of my creativity (though I like that post and you should read it if you haven’t).

There has actually been plenty of exciting blog fodder over the last week.

I attended Alyson’s fourth 4th of July parade and survived the concurrent earthquake.

I also survived the subsequent 7.1 earthquake that struck California.

Though to be fair I was far out of the range of both, and you should follow my old Daily Titan colleague Lauren Jennings to see more of the damage in Ridgecrest.

My Bachelor’s degree was finally shipped.

Over the last few weeks my family has also sat down and binged a few shows:

Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video (which has a phenomenal underlying controversy) and Stranger Things season 3 on Netflix. Both of which are extremely well-constructed and receive honest recommendations.

Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.

Beyond all that, I’ve also been playing a lot of Fire Emblem Warriors.

The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.

Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.

You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:

“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”

The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.

So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.

With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.

It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.

Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.

Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?

As it turns out, I have been.

Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.

Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.

The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.

And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.

But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.

So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!

Summer returns in Fire Emblem Heroes

Summer returns in Fire Emblem Heroes

Hard to believe it has been two years since I joked about using Fire Emblem Heroes as a surrogate for not going to the beach despite living in Southern California.

Even harder to believe I still don’t go to the beach nearly as often as I should.

But at least Fire Emblem is still here to let me live vicariously through anime jpegs.


Summer Returns


The recent Awakening children banner drained a whole bunch of orbs, so I was hoping this summer banner would be low-key. Something I wouldn’t feel pressured to invest a lot into.

A revival banner with Lute is coming, and my recent foray into Sacred Stones has left me eager to finish my collection of its characters.

Luckily I’m not enamored with the summer units.

Mostly.

Gunnthrá and Helbindi aren’t my favorite original characters from Book II. Plus her ability to disarm Aether Raids traps and his ability to excel in the Arena don’t inspire me to open my wallet.

Laegjarn does stand out thanks to Swift Sparrow 3.

Yet… Despite the Internet fawning over her, I can’t get over how fucked up her idle pose looks. It’s like she has no armpit, and that leaves her with one monstrous arm.

I can’t unsee it.

Thus Laevatein is really the only character I’d say I’m very interested in summoning. She’s my favorite Book II character, has cute artwork and packs a great 1-2 punch against other mages with Mirror Impact.

Seriously Intelligent Systems? +6 Attack, +10 Resistance and no counterattacks?

You can’t just make these characters that broken.

I used the Paralogue orbs to get a few extra shots at her, but I haven’t pulled anything special and I’m not going to rush it.

The banner will be here for 50 days.

Which I’m assuming means we won’t get a second set of summer units this year. Something that’s totally fine by me considering last year’s was disappointingly non-Sacred Stones and I’ll need the orbs later.

Speaking of that Paralogue… Let’s talk about it.


Paralogue 35 — Summer Returns

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Once again we cut away from dramatic story progression to bring you the latest in Anna’s attempts to make money off of some softcore pornography.

Or… Do we?

Anna is feeling self-reflective this year and promises not to do anything that can give her a bad reputation at risk of being fired by the royal family.

Which means the entire Paralogue is going to be focused on trying to avoid money-making schemes, isn’t it?

Yep.

Well to be fair the first two battles completely disregard this plot point and focus on the reunion of the Múspell sisters.

Then the reunion of Ylgr (future Tempest Trials reward) and Helbindi.

They’re both cute interactions. But that doesn’t stop them from being pure filler in an admittedly great dusk luau-themed environment.

Don’t worry, though. We return to the exploits of Anna soon after.

By which I mean Anna buckles under the pressure of trying to repress her desire for cash and falls ill. She passes out on the beach, leading to the Order of Heroes realizing just how integral money is to her character.

To a ridiculous degree.


So that’s Fire Emblem Heroes’ 2019 summer banner. Probably the only one we’re getting this year.

I’m a little lukewarm because of my orb stinginess, but I will absolutely try to building my Laevatein squad.

Let me know what you think of the banner down in the comments! How does it compare to previous summer banners? Do you agree that Laegjarn’s arm looks fucked up?

Seriously, do you? I need to know that I’m not alone here.

Thanks.

No love for these bridal heroes

No love for these bridal heroes

Good afternoon, world! Been a while.

I took the last few days off because I was spending extra time with my grandparents and…

That.

After one whole day doing absolutely nothing post-Graduation, it’s about time I jump back into the saddle for my daily writing exercises!

What better catalyst for that writing resurgence than a new banner in Fire Emblem Heroes?

… In hindsight basically anything else. Because it figures this is a banner I could give no fewer shits about.

Personal obligations to consistency ahoy!


Bridal Belongings


When I say this is a post written almost purely out of obligation, I’m not kidding. Maybe it’s in contrast to my excited reactions for Berkut and Alm, but I can’t remember the last time a banner was this much of a dud for me.

When I first watched the video, I had no idea who I was looking at. Usually I’ll have heard of a character if they’re popular, but not this time around.

Sigrun and Tanith are from the Radiant games, interestingly paired with Sanaki’s appearance last year.

Meanwhile Pent and (Tempest Trial reward) Louise are from The Blazing Blade.

Both convenient gaps in my Fire Emblem knowledge.

Unfortunately, none of them have anything to their unit skills that stand out enough to make me care.

Thus, Fjorm is the only character I’m interested in because I know her and she has some interesting skills. She’s a flying healer who negates dancing and gives allies a grounded version of flier formation. That’s kind of cool!

It’s just too bad she’s the only one I care about, because that means I’m probably going to save my orbs for whatever Mythic Hero is rumored to be coming.

At least she’s the main focus of the Paralogue story. So we’ve got that going for us?


Paralogue 34 — Bridal Belonging

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It’s just too bad Fjorm’s starring role is undercut by vague generalities meant to push an unrequited love subplot that Intelligent Systems doesn’t even fully commit to.

Our story begins with the Order of Heroes taking Fjorm to the Bridal festival. She’s admiring all the dresses when one bride-to-be turns out to be:

A way cuter version of herself.

Damnit Heroes, stop making me want to summon for this one character on a dud banner. I need to save my orbs.

Alfonse suggests this Fjorm may from the future rather than just an alternate Fjorm. An idea that sets an entirely new precedent? I don’t think having future versions of your timeline’s self has ever been established before.

And I’d rather not think about the Back to the Future shenanigans that might ensure if the character is summoned under those circumstances.

We follow Bride Fjorm as she gets advice about love from the new units, suggesting she’s worthy if she unconditionally loves a person or would give everything to protect them.

She says there is a person she would do that for, and based on prior experiences I can surmise she’s talking about the player character.

But this Paralogue does everything it can to cut her off.

I guess it does that because once the final battle is over, Sharena offers to be Fjorm’s wingman after she refuses to tell Alfonse who she would “theoretically” love.

As prior experience suggests, Sharena also has a thing for the player character. Which means we’ve got a real drama-bomb building under the surface.

Because this wouldn’t be an anime gatcha game without all of the waifus being in love with you for no other reason than to incentivize spending money on your preferred smooch.


So that’s that. My cynical, bored take on 2019 brides in Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m coming from the bias of ignorance, so if these characters are worth caring about let me know! I’d like to play through their games eventually, after all.

But for now, this is all I’ve got.

If nothing else it’s good to be back in the writing mood!

I’ll have more time to come up with things to write now that we’re in Summer Initiative take 2, but other than an official write-up on Graduation once I have my Grad photos I have no idea what I’ll be writing about.

It’s going to be a real grab bag. Look forward to that!

On social media culture and overthinking everything

On social media culture and overthinking everything

This morning I got a rejection letter from the Washington Post on my application to their summer 2019 internship program.

It’s a shame, but considering they were only accepting 27 people out of over 1,200 applicants… Yeah I can’t get that upset about it. Plus I’m not exactly new to rejection this year, so it isn’t something I’m going to linger on for too long.

Granted if I don’t get positive news from the Boston Globe internship I applied for I’ll have to figure out something totally different to do with my summer, but I already have a bit of a baseline with Gladeo, Boom and some other possible upcoming opportunities.

So I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this post as a sympathy grab. Kind of the opposite actually!

I’m writing this post more as a symptom of how I’ve been overthinking the nature of sympathy grabs on social media and the skewed perspective that comes with a purely text-driven medium.

Sounds complicated, I know. Refer back to the “overthinking” part of that sentence.

But I’ll break it down into my thought process in its entirety.

After seeing that rejection email in bed this morning (because I’m one of those people who checks my email as soon as I wake up), I couldn’t help but deliver a corrupted, well-worn cliché to my mom this morning. Something along the lines of:

“Nothing like the sweet sting of rejection in the morning to remind you we’re living in a cruel, indifferent world.”

Clearly a bit of extra cynicism baked in from recently re-reading Stephen Jay Gould’s piece on “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” for my Evolution and Creation class, but to me it was funny nonetheless.

In fact, I thought the idea was funny enough that I considered posting the phrase up on Twitter with no context just to hopefully elicit a laugh.

Two different trains of thought stopped me from doing so.

The first was a concern that if I did post something like that, it would garner a primarily sympathetic response. Rather than having everyone laugh a little at the idea, they would just apologize and ask what happened.

That’s not to say sympathy is a bad thing, even if it is for the Devil. This just wasn’t a situation where I was actually looking to garner sympathy, and it seems disingenuous to present myself as though genuinely begging for attention online (where sarcasm and such is much harder to read).

The second train of thought ties into that idea from more of an aggression-avoidance point of view. I wouldn’t have wanted to post something like that only to receive a dozen messages accusing me of being thin-skinned and not handling rejection well.

Obviously cueing some sort of message about all millennials being snowflakes somewhere in there.

Because you know that would inevitably be included in the conversation.

Of course some of you will probably say that by backing down from my conviction to post something in light of potentially negative messages I’m just confirming the whole thin-skinned thing. I happen to see it more as not provoking a hassle that would be agonizingly predictable to deal with, but do with that as you will.

So in the end I decided not to post that particular post. All of the back-and-forth in my own head considering things twenty steps ahead that I probably don’t even have to worry about eventually talked me out of it.

What can I say? I’m a fan of overthinking simple things.

As a fun aside to further prove that point, I was a part of the chess club back in elementary school (nerd alert, I know) and one time got an opponent of mine to quit in the middle of a match by talking over a number of different steps he could possibly take as I worked on my own move.

Which makes me sound like a dick to children in hindsight… But to be fair I was also a child, so that’s not unreasonable.

Many years in the future I think it’s a funny little anecdote to reflect on.

With all that said I wanted to leave the thought experiment up to all of you for further debate.

Do you put yourself through these kinds of moral quandaries when posting things on social media? Or am I alone in grossly overthinking what should be a quick 200-character goofy, dumb post.

How do you feel more generally about the culture of essentially begging for sympathy online, or at least what becomes the perception of it by a viewing audience?

Let me know, it’s a subject I’m genuinely interested in right now.

Like a chicken with its head cut off

Some of you may have noticed I missed a blog post yesterday, which probably seems hypocritical and dumb just a day after I literally wrote a blog post while sitting in the corner of a party where I was the only completely sober person.

But I swear I have a good reason for it.

And that reason is… I’m just really god damn busy this week.

It isn’t quite the same kind of busy as I was during midterms a few weeks back, this time my responsibilities are a bit more external.

On Friday I have to register for spring 2019 classes. However, in order to be prepared for that, I have to meet with half a dozen people.

I sat down with the Communications internship coordinator this afternoon when I was done with class.

Tomorrow I’m going to Professor Rizzo’s office hours so I can show her all of the material for my honors project (and hopefully get a proposal signed off on so I can sign up for different classes I need).

Wednesday I have to head into campus by 8:00 a.m. to see guidance counselors during walk-in hours (which is a subject I complained about previously). Big fun for a commuting student.

At least then I’ll be able to try and meet my Learning and Memory professor during his office hours to get some more clear feedback on my essay.

I potentially don’t have anything extraneous on Thursday, but that might be the day I meet with my Mass Media Ethics partner for a presentation we have to give next week.

Finally, Friday is a Gladeo meeting day and, as I mentioned, the day I’m officially signing up for next semester’s classes.

It’s all a bit of a time crunch with a ton of moving parts and I’m a bit on-edge.

Then let’s not forget about the other balls I’m juggling. For instance, homework.

The bane of students everywhere.

I also have to try and work out future internship hiring stuff for Gladeo with Michelle at some point in the near future per suggestions made by the internship coordinator. Both so I can have my work apply toward required internship credits and so we can encourage more reporter interns to come work with us.

On top of that I’ve also been working on different summer 2019 internship applications given the deadline for many of them is November 1.

Put together the extensive application for the Boston Globe yesterday. Now that’s floating around in the aether alongside the Washington Post.

I’m not expecting anything of course, but I am anxiously holding my breath.

Plus let’s not forget my other personal pursuits that I’d like to slip in somewhere within that timeframe.

Like finishing my newest armor set in Monster Hunter.

Or possibly buying Shantae Half-Genie Hero, which I saw is on sale right now thanks to the WayForward twitter.

There are just a lot of balls in the air right now. Being able to list them all out here on the blog does help me relax a little, both because it’s keeping track of my responsibilities and because it’s just fun, stress-free writing practice.

But you can essentially take this post as my fair warning that I might be a little more quiet the next couple days, as I’m literally running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Except for maybe tomorrow when a new Fire Emblem Heroes banner drops. I’ll probably have a post about that.

Because I can’t resist.